Peter’s use of Noah’s example contains two messages: one about the destruction of an evil world, the other about a little remnant that stands up to that evil world and is protected.
Christ said this end time would be as it was in Noah’s day—man’s thoughts are again on evil continually. Of course, we must give God’s warning message—but there is another message of great hope for God’s people. You can look at Noah’s example and see that God saves a few.
God’s people must back and support our Noah message. It is a message about the end of the world and of man’s rule on Earth. It’s about standing alone and using the power of God!
Why does God contrast world destruction with eight people? He is speaking directly to us, to encourage us to face what is coming!
It doesn’t make any difference if we’re alone physically—God’s saints know they are never alone!
What encouragement God gives us. We must trust our Father, just as children trust their parents. He knows so much more than we do, and He is working out His perfect plan.
God’s Work has always been a work of faith in the face of odds. It requires spiritual courage, which is the highest level of faith.
Look at our college, for example. It is small and unaccredited in this world. It takes faith for a young person to come here. But those who come recognize that this is the only college that will survive into the Millennium! They come here out of a desire to join us in fulfilling our commission to the world. That takes gigantic vision!
If we see what God is doing, we recognize that His royal college is preparing people for world rulership! It is accredited by God!
In His true Church, God is training personnel for His eternal headquarters—individuals who can work with Jesus Christ and know His mind and His strategy and how He operates—individuals who simply believe God and can be trusted to do just what He commands—individuals who deeply, passionately love God and wrap their lives around His plan and purpose!
The depravity in society today is a sign that it is about to become ashes. That is an unpopular message. We need all the courage and all the power of God to follow Noah’s tremendous example and do this job.
Peter had to correct a government problem within God’s Church.
“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2 Peter 2:10).
We should be an example of obedience to Christ and His government. We need to measure ourselves according to God’s government and God’s law. That applies to me as much as to anyone else—when I am wrong about something, I want to know. We are not here to promote ourselves, but to promote the truth of God and our Head, Jesus Christ.
Peter is speaking of people who despise government—or lordship, it could read. One commentary says, “They resist and reject the kingly glory of Christ.”
And they are inside the Church. Primarily, God is referring to the Laodiceans.
Just because we may speak favorably toward God’s government doesn’t mean we have the deeds to support those words.
One of the Laodicean churches has eliminated the scripturally based ministerial ranks that Mr. Armstrong used; all ministers are local elders in their respective areas. That sounds so equitable and loving, but they are rejecting God’s government. The thinking is that if everyone has the same rank, there won’t be any competition in the ministry. But that is just carnal reasoning—and they are without excuse! God taught them His government—as He did Lucifer. If God isn’t behind it, it drives Him right out of the Church!
How could you convince the men who made that decision that they despise government? It appears it will take more than words to reach them—but God will somehow get them to recognize that they hate His government.
“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (verse 12). These individuals are like “brute beasts.” How? Animals have no potential for eternal life—they just live for a short time and die. Likewise, a person who doesn’t use God’s Holy Spirit will have no eternal life.
Mankind was made to live forever. But if men don’t repent of their sins and submit to God’s government, their future is the same as brute beasts!
Fifty percent of God’s people have already been prophesied to have that ignominious end. We all must deeply repent to receive the gift of eternal life.
God even calls what is considered the greatest religion on Earth a beast. That is because it supports a political beast—not God.
Why should we be impressed by rebellious men who are to die like beasts? We should honor God by looking to His leaders like Noah.
In the book of Revelation, the most fearsome war-making machine this world has ever seen is also called a “beast,” and it is guided by a religious “beast” (Revelation 13, 17). It too will last only a short time and then die forever! They have no more value than beasts if they don’t repent.
“Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord” (2 Peter 2:11). The righteous angels set a good example for us in respecting God’s government. Satan has been condemned to the blackness of darkness forever. But God still leaves him on his earthly throne until Christ returns. The angels respect that office.
Jude gets even more specific on this subject. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9).
The archangel Michael has had many battles with Satan. However, he has always respected Satan’s office.
There is a reason why Peter and Jude discuss Satan and the demons in the context of sodomy—they are behind it! And Satan is behind those Laodiceans and others who despise God’s government!
As Mr. Armstrong used to say so often, “government is everything.” Satan is the antithesis of God’s view of government.
The archangels, Michael and Gabriel, work behind the scenes for God’s very elect against Satan and the demons.
This world will never have peace as long as it remains in the clutches of carnal human governments. It speaks evil of what it doesn’t understand. It doesn’t know God or understand His government. Only the government of God can save us.
None of us has any potential unless we rid ourselves of human nature. Human nature simply will not accept the rule of God. People will not listen to a Noah or a prophet of God today, so they have to deal with weapons of mass destruction and human annihilation!
Sons of the Flesh
Peter continues his condemnation of the Laodiceans: “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time” (2 Peter 2:13). Normally people commit their rebellious deeds in the shadows of the night, but these are brazen rebels. They revel in sin at high noon.
“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin …” (verse 14). They are hooked on sin like heroin—like the homosexuals in Genesis 19. Their willpower is destroyed. That is what sin does to a person—it saps you of the will to live righteously.
“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray”—the Laodiceans had the right way but forsook it—“following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet” (verses 15-16). These people had the right way, but then forsook it. Jude also uses the example of Balaam—and it is a very apt illustration of what has happened to the Laodiceans.
Peter refers to him as “Balaam the son of Bosor.” Bosor means flesh. Balaam was actually a son of carnality. He loved the way of Satan—of this world. He thought he was a godly man, but he was actually mad—so mad that God inspired his ass to speak to him and tell him about his madness.
It’s as if God is telling these false prophets that they have less wisdom than a donkey!
That is what we are dealing with spiritually! Look at the ideas the Laodiceans are promulgating. Some of them are truly asinine, considering what those people of God once knew!
“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever” (verse 17). Water represents the Holy Spirit. God’s people should be full of that living water! It should flow into and out of our lives every day. But the Laodiceans are dried up of that life-giving Spirit.
The blackness, or “mist of darkness,” hangs over them. This chilling horror hovers over them every day.
“For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error” (verse 18; Revised Standard Version). This is talking about people who have “barely escaped”—that is, they are new in God’s Church.
Satan is subtle. He has different messages for different people—he knows our weaknesses and how to attack us specifically. He knows how to reach prospective members. God’s ministers must be watchful and help equip the brethren in areas where they are weak, so they can withstand these attacks.
The Law of Liberty
“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (verse 19).
James 1:25 talks about God’s “law of liberty.” These individuals promise freedom and liberty—but they never talk about the “law of liberty”! They offer a false freedom—a lawless liberty, which is really slavery. They talk about love, but it is a shallow, meaningless love, not grounded in God’s law.
The U.S. Supreme Court has offered sodomites “liberty.” Instead, they should be giving them the law of liberty. They themselves are servants of corruption and rebellion. By that logic, a heroin addict is free, because he can do whatever he wants!
People say homosexuality is freedom—but it is actually destroying the vision of the Family of God. Pornography rakes in billions of dollars in the U.S. each year because it is protected as “free” expression—but it is actually shattering families and enslaving people to sexual addiction, poverty and all kinds of problems.
No wonder God has to topple the U.S.—this nation is polluting and corrupting the whole world through television, movies, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
If we’re going to talk about liberty, let’s talk about the law of liberty—a law directed by the government of God.
You can’t teach the law to carnal people unless you have the government of God, and people come under that government in a childlike and submissive way.
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (verse 20). We really need the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The word knowledge in this verse is not gnosis, from which we get our word knowledge; it’s epignosis. Epi means intense or intensive; it expresses a more thorough participation in the knowledge. As Mr. Armstrong always said, if you don’t put your heart in this Work, you won’t grow. Epignosis is knowledge that directs your life—it is intense knowledge that causes us to want to give our lives to this Work. That is the kind of knowledge we need, Peter says, if we are to escape “the pollutions of the world.”
This knowledge causes us to submit to our Lord, or Master, and then let Him empower us with His Holy Spirit and become our Savior. People in the world talk about their Lord and Savior all the time, but they are just empty, meaningless words.
The Laodiceans had that knowledge—but then lost it and got entangled in the world again.
God is going to judge them harshly for turning their back on Him and returning to sin.
“For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (verses 21-22). What an ugly picture—and a frightful fate to befall God’s people!
The Laodiceans are blind! How else can you explain their rejecting the transcendent reward God is extending to them? What obstacle prevents them from accepting this masterpiece of God’s creation—God recreating Himself?
The Last Days
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3).
The rsv reads, “First of all you must understand this ….” Why is this emphasized by Peter?
Lange’s Commentary says that this is referring to “the last of the days.” That is, the “farthest” or “uttermost.” This is similar to what the Apostle John described as the last hour. And the times are growing rapidly worse.
Lange’s explains: “‘[T]hey shall come in the spirit of scoffing, as scoffers, walking, etc.’ [They will not only be scoffers, but they will come in scoffing, like those of whom the Psalmist says, that their delight is in cursing, and that they clothe themselves with it, as it were, with a raiment (Psalm 109:16-17); ….]”
Satan has been cast down and is full of wrath because his time is so short (Revelation 12:12). Demons are racing around like mad dogs, stirring up all kinds of rage. It intensifies as Satan’s spirit permeates humanity. People become clothed in a scoffing spirit.
In this end time, people are in a spirit of scoffing. They don’t realize it, but by being like this, they are fulfilling prophecy!
Many today scoff at God and at the Word of God. For example, when the Bible condemns homosexuality—so clearly that anybody can understand it—even religious leaders who claim to represent God stand up and say it’s good. There will be a reckoning for that! God holds ministers accountable more than other people—and that is true many times over of God’s true ministers.
In the last days, that verse says. You can see that Peter’s thinking was focused on the end of the world. We, too, need to get our minds on the end of the world. It didn’t happen in Peter’s time—but it is about to happen today! We are living through the last few minutes of mankind’s rule over this Earth!
Like Lot’s wife, most people cannot face the fact that this world is about to end. Even as they read daily headlines about the proliferation of terrifying weapons of mass destruction, they scoff!
Christ said it would be like Noah’s time in these latter days. But evil men scoff today at the Bible teaching about Noah and the Flood (2 Peter 3:4-7)—just as they did anciently. They scoff at Christ’s words.
They willfully refuse to see.
How can God reach their hardened minds?
God’s very elect must tell people what is coming. We must endeavor to get them to face reality!
As we do so, they will fight it. But when it is all over, they will say, There really was a prophet of God in our midst. They will recognize their own foolishness for rejecting the message of God.
First of all, though, God’s people must understand deeply that the era of man ruling man is about over. Mankind’s end is near, and we all need to understand that to our core.
What insight Peter gives us into what God expects us to accomplish!
The Sabbath Rest
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (verse 8).
What does that really mean?
“Be not ignorant,” Peter wrote. Don’t let this fact escape you. He really emphasized this. Why? What’s so important about it?
God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). Our destiny is to become members of His Family, so God wants our minds oriented toward eternity. But eternity is a towering concept, so Peter tries to break it down for us.
We are preparing first of all for a thousand-year Millennium. After that, we will begin the process of spreading God’s government out into the universe and to eternity!
This is a universe-size concept. We must not live in the present. We must live in the future—as God does.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
We must have faith in our great God—He will keep His promise of this wonderful world that is to come. If we believe that, we know that God’s Kingdom is almost here!
A thousand years is like a day to God. He views 7,000 years as a week. The 7,000-year plan of God is typed by the seven-day week.
To understand what Peter is really saying, we need more perspective on this truth.
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths [holy days] ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people” (Exodus 31:13-14). The Sabbath is extremely important to God. He takes it very seriously.
“Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord … It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days [a type of the 6,000 years of mankind’s rule] the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day [a type of the coming Millennium] he rested, and was refreshed” (verses 15, 17).
Is this the kind of Sabbath we keep?
God created the Sabbath by resting, and it refreshed Him. He looked at His creation and at the human beings He had made in His image and likeness. He considered His master plan, and how those first six days of the re-creation were a type of the coming 6,000 years He would allot to mankind’s rule on Earth. Then He thought on that seventh thousand-year period, during which He will usher in His Kingdom and govern the world. He meditated deeply on that future—and the way He kept the Sabbath really inspired and encouraged Him! He was lifted up and refreshed! He looked back on His creation, and He looked forward to the time when He would be able to give all mankind rest from sin! He anticipated being able to refresh all of mankind with the Millennium and the rule of Jesus Christ.
This begins to give us an idea of what Peter was really talking about in his epistle!
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1). That rest is the Millennium, which is typed by the Sabbath—a millennial rest from sin. We must not fall short of attaining it!
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it [without faith, God’s Word won’t truly profit anyone]. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day [the Millennium] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” (verses 2-6). We must believe!
“Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day [ancient Israel didn’t receive this promise]. There remaineth therefore a rest [margin: ‘keeping of a Sabbath’] to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (verses 7-10).
God’s people need to cease from their work on the Sabbath—as all mankind will in the Millennium. Man will cease from his own works!
We must keep the Sabbath day this way—and look forward to the time when the whole world will be celebrating it. Mankind will see that a thousand years is as a day, and they will have a vision that will truly refresh and inspire them: a vision of the plan of God!
Look back at the physical creation and God’s transcendent plan to recreate Himself in man, and look to that glorious future, and you can understand more deeply what Peter means by saying, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Let’s keep our minds on this wonderful and inspiring future!
Proper Sabbath-keeping helps us think like God! We labor spiritually on the Sabbath to etch this vision into our minds. The Sabbath is a day for building hope!
I believe Peter could have said, “Just keep the Sabbath the right way, and you’ll begin to think this way yourself: a thousand years is as one day.”
If we don’t keep the Sabbath properly, we’ll never think like God. And if we don’t think like God, we will never be able to complete the job He has given us.
The Sabbath pictures the culmination of God’s 7,000-year plan. As we keep it, we see the outcome of today’s events, and we expect the world to change! That is what we live for! We know that 6,000 years is like six days to God—and it is about over!
The Sabbath should energize our vision and our understanding of why we are here on Earth. It keeps us happy and motivated and moving forward. You will never build the hope Peter is talking about without proper Sabbath-keeping. Without the Sabbath, we are stuck in the present. With a proper Sabbath, we are refreshed like God, ready for the challenges of the coming week.
We must always keep ourselves focused and thinking like God. The Sabbath is the primary way to do that in the week, as it gives us more time to do the spiritual Work that keeps us looking to God and looking toward the future. It fills us with His hopeful vision.
Have a bad Sabbath, and you’ll have a bad week. Have a good Sabbath, and you’ll think of 1,000 years as a day!
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:12). The word hasting could read, “hasting the coming” (see King James reference). Strong’s defines hasting as “to ‘speed,’ i.e. urge on (diligently or earnestly) ….”
The word hasting is used six times in the New Testament—each time it means to make haste.
Can we hasten the Day of the Lord? I believe we can. The Bible discusses “time being cut short.”
God’s Work can’t end until it is finished. But if we are intensely urgent, we can do it in less time. We must do all we can to end this nightmare world as fast as we can.
The whole world groans as it waits for the sons of God (Romans 8:19-23). It certainly appears to me that we can end that massive groan quicker by working harder.
May God help us to do all we can.
Peter grew quickly and became the chief apostle. He wanted all of God’s people to follow his example as he followed Christ.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18; rsv).
That is a message filled with hope!