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The End of All Things
Summary —The Purpose of the Second Epistle. The Sayings of Scoffers. God's Apparent Delay to Give Opportunity for Repentance. The Day of the Lord. The New Heavens and New Earth. The Blameless Lives We Ought to Live. Paul's Writings. Final Admonitions.
1–4. This second epistle. This language implies a former letter written to the same persons to whom this is addressed. I stir up your pure minds. In both letters his object was mainly to exhort them to holy lives. By way of remembrance. By reminding you of the claims of Christ as shown by prophets and apostles. 2. That ye be mindful of the words. Both of what was spoken by the prophets in the Old Testament, and of what the apostles have now spoken. Us the apostles. The Twelve, and Paul, who is alluded to in verse 15. 3. Knowing this first. The apostles and prophets have reminded them that there will be scoffers in the last days. Under the last dispensation. 4. Where is the promise of his coming? This question is asked by the scoffers, as though the coming of Christ was so long delayed that all hope had ended. They take advantage of the disappointment to try to destroy faith. All things continue. The scoffers assert that the regular order of nature continues right on as it was from the beginning. They forget the deluge.
5–7. For this they willingly are ignorant of. Their ignorance which causes them to speak thus is wilful. They obstinately forget all the lessons taught by the deluge. There the fixed order was interrupted. That there were heavens. This alludes to the beginning of creation. See Gen. 1:1, 2. By the word of God. See Gen. 1:6, 9. And the earth. The Revision translated, “compacted out of water.” That is, water is a principal element in its formation, a fact seen in three-fourths of its surface being sea, and water being found in the depths of the earth everywhere, and being found largely in earthly combinations. 6. Whereby. By means of the waters of heaven and earth; “the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened,” the old world was overflowed and perished. 7. By the same word. The heavens and earth of old were formed by the word of God, but the same word, which has always been sure, declares that they are reserved for fire. See Ps. 50:3; 97:3; Isa. 66:15, 24; Dan. 7:9; Mal. 4:1. Against the day of judgment. This destruction by fire will be when the Lord is revealed in judgment and when perdition comes on ungodly men.
8–13. But, beloved, be not ignorant. Delay was the objection of the scoffers, but time is no element in the counsels of God. He has eternity in which to work out his purposes. He can as well take a thousand years as a day. If he seems to us short lived creatures to delay it for wise purposes. See Ps. 90:4. 9. The Lord is not slack. If the day of the Lord seems delayed it is not due to slackness. It is rather because God is long suffering and is giving time to call the world to repentance. See 1 Tim. 2:4. 10. But the day of the Lord will come. This expression usually, but not always, refers to the second advent. Such is the meaning here. As a thief. When people are not expecting it. Compare 1 Thess. 5:2; Matt. 24:43. The heavens shall pass away. See Luke 21:33. The elements shall melt. The material of which they are composed. The earth also and the works. The earth and all man's creations. That the world shall come to an end seems to be written in its very constitution. A slight change in the constitution of the atmosphere, or the decomposition of its water would wrap it in flame. Science finds the elements of final dissolution in the relations of the earth and sun. According to the ratio of increase in two centuries the world will not have resources to feed its population. In a few hundred years the coal resources of the world will fail. These and many other facts point to a necessary and inevitable change. 11. What manner of persons ought ye to be. Since we have no abiding home on this earth and seek one beyond, we should live in a state of preparation. 12. Looking for. Looking for, preparing for, and desiring the Lord's coming. Dreadful as that day will be for the impenitent it is a day of relief and of glorious attainment to the saint. 13. We, according to his promise. See Isa. 65:17; also 66:22. The heavens and the earth are not to be blotted out, but changed, purified, and made better for the home of the righteous.
14–18. Wherefore, beloved. Now follows an earnest exhortation to holiness in view of the coming of the Lord. 15. Account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation. That God's long suffering is designed to promote salvation. Even as our beloved brother Paul … hath written to you. We cannot tell what epistles of Paul are alluded to. We have at least three which were written to the same churches Peter was addressing. See 1 Pet. 1:1, 2. 16. As also in all his epistles. Peter knew of many epistles, then, that Paul had written, and knew also that they contained some very profound argument, which a Jew especially found it difficult to understand (See Galatian Letter). The unlearned and unstable. The ignorant and vacillating wrest. Pervert and give meanings that were never meant. As also the other scriptures. The other scriptures may mean the Old Testament, or New Testament writings already written. The point to be noted is that already when Peter wrote Paul's epistles were accepted as a part of the Scriptures. To their own destruction. This should be a warning to all in our day who twist the Scriptures from their real meaning. 17. Seeing ye know these things before. That there shall be false teachers; hence beware of them. 18. Grow in grace. How they may so grow was shown in 1 Peter 2:2. And in the knowledge of our Lord. The two kinds of growth must keep equal pace. He who grows in the one will grow in the other.
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