Why Hasn’t Jesus Returned Yet? Part II

II Peter 3

<verses 9-18>



2 Peter 3:9-18) [GNB] The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins.

QUESTION: Why hasn’t the Lord Jesus returned yet?

ANSWER: He wants many more people to be saved because He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed.

10) But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish.

QUESTION: In what way will His return [rapture] come “like a thief”?

ANSWER: The unbeliever certainly won’t be looking for him, and even we Christians have heard, and said, for so long that’s He’s coming any time now, that we are somewhat dull to the idea.

QUESTION: In what way will His return [second coming] come “like a thief”?

ANSWER: The Anti-Christ is in control, most, if not all, believers are in Heaven, and no one is looking for His return.

QUESTION: The heavens disappear? The heavenly bodies burn up? The earth vanishes? What?

Concerning, “On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise,

“This certainly means the atmospheric heavens, and may mean the stellar heavens, but it cannot mean the third heaven—the dwelling place of God” [BBC].

“That is, what seems to us to be the heavens. It cannot mean that the holy home where God dwells will pass away; nor do we need to suppose that this declaration extends to the starry worlds and systems as disclosed by modern astronomy. The word is doubtless used in a popular sense – that is, as things appear to us; and the fair interpretation of the passage would demand only such a change as would occur by the destruction of this world by fire” [Barnes].

Regarding, “the heavenly bodies will burn up,”

[GW] Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed.

[KJB] and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,

“Among the ancient Greek philosophers, it designated the four basic and essential elements of which the universe consisted, namely, earth, water, air, and fire” {elements} [Word Study].

“The word denotes the “rudiments” of anything; the minute parts or portions of which anything is composed, or which constitutes the simple portions out of which anything grows, or of which it is compounded.

Here it would properly denote the component parts of the material world; or those which enter into its composition, and of which it is made up” [Barnes].

In regards to “the earth with everything in it will vanish,”

[GW] The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed.

Revelation 20:11-15) [GNB] Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sits on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence and were seen no more.

12) And I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing before the throne. Books were opened, and then another book was opened, the book of the living. The dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.

13) Then the sea gave up its dead. Death and the world of the dead also gave up the dead they held. And all were judged according to what they had done.

14) Then death and the world of the dead were thrown into the lake of fire. (This lake of fire is the second death.)

15) Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire.

NOTE: Notice how “earth and heaven” flee on this day of the Great White Throne Judgment.

11) Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God,

QUESTION: How should these facts affect us?

ANSWER: We should live holy, dedicated lives to God.

1John 3:1-3) See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God.

2) My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.

3) Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.

NOTE: The thought of how sin affects the world’s future, along with the thought of how salvation affects the believer’s future ought to incite us to better living.

12) as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon—the Day when the heavens will burn up and be destroyed, and the heavenly bodies will be melted by the heat.

QUESTION: How can we make this day come quicker?

ANSWER: God is being patient, wanting more people to be saved, so if we become more evangelical in our passion and approach we could “make it come soon.” However, I’m not suggesting that God would change His plans because of our zeal, because when God set “the day and the hour” He already saw the future.

13) But we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.

14) And so, my friends, as you wait for that Day, do your best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him.

NOTE: Here’s why we “wait” for that Day with eagerness; we understand that the destroying of the status quo is the first step to the creation of the “new heavens and a new earth.”

Again, the challenge is to do our best to live better as we are inspired by the truth of the Scripture.

15) Look on our Lord’s patience as the opportunity he is giving you to be saved, just as our dear friend Paul wrote to you, using the wisdom that God gave him.

16) This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject. There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures. So they bring on their own destruction.

NOTE: The “Lord’s patience” gives unbelievers “the opportunity” to be saved.

ANOTHER NOTE: Peter refers to Paul’s writings as Scripture.

17) But you, my friends, already know this. Be on your guard, then, so that you will not be led away by the errors of lawless people and fall from your safe position.

18) But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.

QUESTION: Is Peter suggesting that we can be in a “safe position” concerning our relationship with God, and the fall out of that safe position?

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church