The 'Last Days' & The 'Day of the Lord'
2 Peter 3:1-4 Peter reminds the believers that this is his second letter to them. In both letters, he has tried to encourage pure thoughts in their minds so they are well prepared for the ‘last days’ and the return of Christ to earth. They are not to listen to those who say Christ has broken his promise and will not appear again.
2 Peter 3:5-9 In fact, the opposite is true. On God’s command the earth was created, and on God’s command – and at his own appointed time – the ‘Day of Judgement’ will come. For “To the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day” (2 Peter 3:8) (see Psalm 90:4).
The Lord isn’t slow to do what he’s promised; rather he is patient because he doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed on the ‘Day of Judgement’.
The ‘Day of the Lord’
2 Peter 3:10-13 Believers shouldn’t be complacent, however, because “the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:10) and everything on the earth and in the sky will vanish – to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth (see Isaiah 65:17 & Revelation 21:1).
So they should live holy lives dedicated to God as they wait for the ‘Day of the Lord’ and do their best to make it come soon.
2 Peter 3:14-17 Peter tells the believers to use the Lord’s patience as an opportunity to be saved – just as “our dear brother Paul” said “when he wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him” (2 Peter 3:15).
Peter and Paul
There’s no doubting that Peter and Paul had a great respect for each other, though their relationship was sometimes a bit ‘rocky’.
Peter and Paul had very different backgrounds and levels of education
At the end of his Second Letter, Peter refers to “our dear brother Paul” and writes favourably about “the wisdom that God gave him” (2 Peter 3:15). Peter’s reference to the divine wisdom given to Paul ‘in his letters’ (see Ephesians 3:3) suggests that he was familiar with Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, written to the believers in Ephesus in c.60AD while Paul was under house arrest in Rome.
He may also have read Paul’s Letter to the Colossians (also written in c.60AD) which was circulated around the churches in Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis (see Colossians 4:12-16 and Map 29), and his earlier Letter to the Galatians (in which Paul had criticised Peter for his attitude towards Gentile believers) (see Galatians 2:11-14).
Peter (who was an uneducated fisherman – see Acts 4:13) respected Paul’s learned scholarship, but he adds at the end of his letter that Paul’s letters are sometimes difficult to understand and his complicated arguments can be twisted by unstable people (see 2 Peter 3:16). So he advises the believers to be on their guard for false teachers who might twist Paul’s message and lead them astray.
2 Peter 3:18 Peter concludes the letter with a benediction. He urges them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Glory be to him now and for ever!” (2 Peter 3:18).
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