“REMEMBER THE PREDICTIONS OF THE HOLY PROPHETS”
Today we read the final chapter of Peter’s second and last epistle. He says, “I am stirring up your sincere mind … that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets …” [v.1,2]
Our previous reading today was the 1st chapter of the prophet Zephaniah, which has a challenging message for us – especially tomorrow’s chapter 2. His first chapter warns, “Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near …” [v.7] and this is – initially – a message for Jerusalem. But then his words take on a much wider perspective, “I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD …” [v.17] But God has a future in store for individuals, who, like Job, remain faithful to him, even when things go badly wrong in their lives. Let us remember these and other predictions.
In today’s chapter 19 Job declares, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold … [v.25-27] May we, in faith, echo Job’s words.
Returning to our chapter in Peter, let us highlight in v.8 & 9 “…. do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish … ” We take this to mean – ‘that not any of you should perish.’
Peter proclaims, as does so much of Scripture, that there will be a “day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” [v.7] But that time “will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away …” [v.10] It is clear as we read v.13 that he does not mean the physical heavens will pass away. Verse 13 tells us, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
So the heavens means rulers, this will be the time when “out of Zion shall go the law and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” and the LORD “shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes …” [Isa. 2 v.3,4] Those counted “righteous” “in the first resurrection … will be priests .. and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” [Rev. 20 v.6]
In v. 14 in Peter challenges us to “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. ” Let us seek that purity and “peace” with all our hearts – for then we “will reign with him” “ receiving,” as Peter wrote in his first epistle, “an inheritance that is imperishable … for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [1 v.4,5] Surely we are now “in the last time.”