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3. The Day of the Lord
1This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance; 2that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles: 3knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, 4and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; 6by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, 12looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight. 15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.
8. be not ignorant—as those scoffers are (2Pe 3:5). Besides the refutation of them (2Pe 3:5-7) drawn from the history of the deluge, here he adds another (addressed more to believers than to the mockers): God's delay in fulfilling His promise is not, like men's delays, owing to inability or fickleness in keeping His word, but through "long-suffering."
this one thing—as the consideration of chief importance (Lu 10:42).
one day … thousand years—(Ps 90:4): Moses there says, Thy eternity, knowing no distinction between a thousand years and a day, is the refuge of us creatures of a day. Peter views God's eternity in relation to the last day: that day seems to us, short-lived beings, long in coming, but with the Lord the interval is irrespective of the idea of long or short. His eternity exceeds all measures of time: to His divine knowledge all future things are present: His power requires not long delays for the performance of His work: His long-suffering excludes all impatient expectation and eager haste, such as we men feel. He is equally blessed in one day and in a thousand years. He can do the work of a thousand years in one day: so in 2Pe 3:9 it is said, "He is not slack," that is, "slow": He has always the power to fulfil His "promise."
thousand years as one day—No delay which occurs is long to God: as to a man of countless riches, a thousand guineas are as a single penny. God's œonologe (eternal-ages measurer) differs wholly from man's horologe (hour-glass). His gnomon (dial-pointer) shows all the hours at once in the greatest activity and in perfect repose. To Him the hours pass away, neither more slowly, nor more quickly, than befits His economy. There is nothing to make Him need either to hasten or delay the end. The words, "with the Lord" (Ps 90:4, "In Thy sight"), silence all man's objections on the ground of his incapability of understanding this [Bengel].
9. slack—slow, tardy, late; exceeding the due time, as though that time were already come. Heb 10:37, "will not tarry."
count—His promise to be the result of "slackness" (tardiness).
long-suffering—waiting until the full number of those appointed to "salvation" (2Pe 3:15) shall be completed.
to us-ward—The oldest manuscripts, Vulgate, Syriac, &c., read, "towards YOU."
any—not desiring that any, yea, even that the scoffers, should perish, which would be the result if He did not give space for repentance.
10. The certainty, suddenness, and concomitant effects, of the coming of the day of the Lord. Faber argues from this that the millennium, &c., must precede Christ's literal coming, not follow it. But "the day of the Lord" comprehends the whole series of events, beginning with the pre-millennial advent, and ending with the destruction of the wicked, and final conflagration, and general judgment (which last intervenes between the conflagration and the renovation of the earth).
will—emphatical. But (in spite of the mockers, and notwithstanding the delay) come and be present the day of the Lord SHALL.
with a great noise—with a rushing noise, like that of a whizzing arrow, or the crash of a devouring flame.
elements—the component materials of the world [Wahl]. However, as "the works" in the earth are mentioned separately from "the earth," so it is likely by "elements," mentioned after "the heavens," are meant "the works therein," namely, the sun, moon, and stars (as Theophilus of Antioch [p. 22, 148, 228]; and Justin Martyr [Apology, 2.44], use the word "elements"): these, as at creation, so in the destruction of the world, are mentioned [Bengel]. But as "elements" is not so used in Scripture Greek, perhaps it refers to the component materials of "the heavens," including the heavenly bodies; it clearly belongs to the former clause, "the heavens," not to the following, "the earth," &c.
melt—be dissolved, as in 2Pe 3:11.
the works … therein—of nature and of art.
11. Your duty, seeing that this is so, is to be ever eagerly expecting the day of God.
then—Some oldest manuscripts substitute "thus" for "then": a happy refutation of the "thus" of the scoffers, 2Pe 3:4 (English Version, "As they were," Greek, "thus").
shall be—Greek, "are being (in God's appointment, soon to be fulfilled) dissolved"; the present tense implying the certainty as though it were actually present.
what manner of men—exclamatory. How watchful, prayerful, zealous!
to be—not the mere Greek substantive verb of existence (einai), but (huparchein) denoting a state or condition in which one is supposed to be [Tittmann]. What holy men ye ought to be found to be, when the event comes! This is "the holy commandment" mentioned in 2Pe 3:2.
conversation … godliness—Greek, plural: behaviors (towards men), godlinesses (or pieties towards God) in their manifold modes of manifestation.
12. hasting unto—with the utmost eagerness desiring [Wahl], praying for, and contemplating, the coming Saviour as at hand. The Greek may mean "hastening (that is, urging onward [Alford]) the day of God"; not that God's eternal appointment of the time is changeable, but God appoints us as instruments of accomplishing those events which must be first before the day of God can come. By praying for His coming, furthering the preaching of the Gospel for a witness to all nations, and bringing in those whom "the long-suffering of God" waits to save, we hasten the coming of the day of God. The Greek verb is always in New Testament used as neuter (as English Version here), not active; but the Septuagint uses it actively. Christ says, "Surely I come quickly. Amen." Our part is to speed forward this consummation by praying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Re 22:20).
the coming—Greek, "presence" of a person: usually, of the Saviour.
the day of God—God has given many myriads of days to men: one shall be the great "day of God" Himself.
wherein—rather as Greek, "on account of (or owing to) which" day.
heavens—the upper and lower regions of the sky.
melt—Our igneous rocks show that they were once in a liquid state.
13. Nevertheless—"But": in contrast to the destructive effects of the day of God stand its constructive effects. As the flood was the baptism of the earth, eventuating in a renovated earth, partially delivered from "the curse," so the baptism with fire shall purify the earth so as to be the renovated abode of regenerated man, wholly freed from the curse.
new heavens—new atmospheric heavens surrounding the renovated earth.
righteousness—dwelleth in that coming world as its essential feature, all pollutions having been removed.