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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
2 Peter 3

 

 

Verses 1-9

2 Peter 3:1–9

Analysis:—Reference to the long-predicted rise of scoffers, and refutation of their unbelief

1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us1 the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days2 scoffers,3 walking after4 their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were5 from the beginning of the creation 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Grod the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:6 6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word7 are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with8 the Lord as a thousand 9 years, and a thousand years as one day.9 The10 Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward,11 not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

2 Peter 3:1. This Epistle now, beloved, the second.—The flow of fiery, prophetical diction beginning with 2 Peter 1:16, comes here to a point of rest. Peter takes up 2 Peter 1:15.—Ἤδη in the acceptation of already, gives no good sense. [But this is doubtful; we have only to render “this Epistle, already a second” and the idea is plain that this Epistle was written very soon after the former; this is the opinion of Bengel, “priorem paullo ante scripserat;” cf. the same author on 2 Peter 1:12, “alteram hanc epistolam scribit brevi intervallo post primam.”—M.] Connect ἥδη with γράφω not with δευτέραν. Now in the near prospect of death and in the presence of scoffers denying the coming of Christ, write I unto you. This passage defines more explicitly the somewhat indefinite statement of 2 Peter 1:15; but this does not therefore exclude a reference to the Gospel according to St. Mark.

In both which I rouse, etc.—Ἐν αἷς, the pronoun is in the Plural, because δύο is implied in δευτέραν, Winer, p154.—Διεγείρω, it seems, must be taken as a Conjunctive for ἵνα ἐν αὐταῖς. On the sense see 2 Peter 1:13.—Ὑμῶν may be connected with ὑπομνήσει or διάνοιαν; the latter seems preferable.—Εἰλικρινῆ, see Philippians 1:10 from εἵλη (sun-light) and κρίνω, something attentively examined in the light of the sun and found genuine, hence pure, clear, unmixed, [unadulterated.—M.] Διάνοια, 1 Peter 1:13, “this pure mind is at once opposed to errors in doctrine and to excuses for the practice of vices. A man of a pure mind believes and loves the truth, and grows holy in the truth.” Roos. Such a mind can only be roused in the case of those, who are not in the truth, cf. John 18:37; John 3:21; 1 John 1:6. A principal means thereto is the remembrance of the revelations of God, deposited in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles.

Ver2. That ye should remember the words, etc.—Here, as in 1 Peter 1:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:19, great weight is attached to the word of prophecy, which is brought into most intimate connection, with the Apostolical doctrines.—Ἁγίων προφητῶν, see 2 Peter 1:21.—Ἐντολῆς, 2 Peter 2:21.—Ἡμῶν apposition with ἀποστόλων as in Acts 10:41. The author here repeatedly describes himself (as in 2 Peter 1:1) as an Apostle, just as he describes himself in 2 Peter 3:1 as the Author of the first Epistle.—Μνησθῆναι, further definition of ἐν ὑποφητῶν. The Infinite of intention or of further definition, Winer p341.—Τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος; de Wette makes these words to be governed by the Infinitive and gives the ungrammatical rendering “of our Apostles.” But it is more natural to connect τοῦ κυρίου with ἐντολῆς. This has a double Genitive; cf. Winer, pt3:30. The one of these Genitives relates to the announcement, the other to the origin of the doctrine.—In the parallel passage, Judges 17, the reference to the Prophets is omitted.—De Wette’s interpretation being manifestly incorrect, we need not stop to refute his inference that the non-apostolical author here betrays himself and acts out of his character.

2 Peter 3:3. Knowing this first that in the last of the days scoffers shall come.— 2 Timothy 3:1; cf. 1 Timothy 4:1. They are to consider it as a principal point of the prophetical and apostolical word that—γινώσκοντες. Here we should expect the Accusative, governed by μνησθῆναι. Such, probably intentional, anacolutha are of frequent occurrence. Conceptions expressed by the casus recti of Participles, are exhibited with greater prominence, Winer, p594; cf. Acts 15:23; Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 3:17.

Shall come, cf. 2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:11; Matthew 24:24; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 7:22; 1 John 4:1. The parallel passage Judges 18 is almost identical; ὅτι ἐν ἐσχάτῳ χρόνῳ ἔσονται ἐμπαῖκται, κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι, with the addition τῶν ἀσεβερῶν.—Ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν. The Adjective Neuter is often used emphatically instead of the Substantive. Winer, p248. At the end of these present days of the world. [But as ἐσχατών is the best supported reading, cf. App. Crit, it is better to translate “in the last of the days”; there is perhaps no difference in meaning, but the Plural seems to extend the expression over a wider space, so Alford; Wordsworth: “From this reference, it appears that St. Jude wrote his Epistle after the present Epistle, and that he owned this Epistle to be the work of an Apostle, and therefore an authentic writing; and if authentic, then it must be also genuine, for it asserts itself to be written by St. Peter, 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:17, where the writer describes himself as present at the transfiguration, at which only three Apostles were present, viz.: Peter, James and John.”—M.]—Ἐμπαῖκται (from ἐμπαίζω to play, sport in or on) scoffers, deceivers; cf. LXX. in Isaiah 3:4, for תַּעֲלוּלִים, petulantiæ, petulantes, people that jest about things of the greatest importance. Here we encounter another class of adversaries of Christ, different from the false prophets and teachers described in the second chapter. The two classes have this in common, that they are Epicurean and Antinomian. in mind, cf. 2 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:18-19. The appearance of such men is predicted Acts 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:2, etc. If the reading ἐν ἐμπαιγμονῇ is retained, it is necessary to use a mark of distinction after the latter word, rendering: “they 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); and the contrast is striking to the Divine words εὐλογῶν εὐλογήσω, Genesis 22:17, cf. Ephesians 1:3, εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ and Clem. Romans 1:24.” Wordsworth.—M.]

Walking after their own lusts.—They no longer appear in sheep’s clothing, but exhibit their wolf-nature.—Κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας αὑτων. Ἰδίας brings out the self-will and opposition of these men to the law of God.—Ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμεναι. Bengel: “This is the origin of error, the root of libertinism.” Luther: “These are our Epicureans and Sadducees, who believe neither one thing nor the other, who live as they think best and walk after their own lusts, considering permitted whatever suits their pleasure: examples of such are met on every hand.”—Πορευόμενοι, see 1 Peter 4:3.

2 Peter 3:4. Where is the promise of His coming?—Similar to the daring words of the scoffers in Malachi 2:17 : “Where is the God of judgment?” The same form of speech occurs in Luke 8:25; Psalm 42:4; Psalm 79:10. Where is it? e. g., Where is its fulfilment? It is nowhere to be found.

The promise.—They use the language of believers, to whom the coming of their Lord is the most cherished desire, cf. Luke 21:28.

Of His coming.—παρουσίας. Used here in a more special sense than in 2 Peter 1:16, of the visible coming of Christ to the judgment of the wicked and to the consummation of His Kingdom, Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Peter 3:12.—Αὐτοῦ, they do not take His name on their lips, so much do they disdain it. [Polycarp, 100:7: “Whosoever does not confess the suffering of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither resurrection nor a judgment,—he is the first-born of Satan.”—M.]

For since the fathers fell asleep.—Ἀφ’ ἧς γὰρ scil. ἡμέρας. De Wette is wrong in saying: “The author appears to assume these scoffers, as present and that prediction as fulfilled.” No; this appearance springs solely from critical prejudices. Peter puts himself into the time of the fulfilment of that prediction, when the first generation of believers had already fallen asleep; most of them had expected the visible coming of the Lord as immediately connected with the destruction of Jerusalem; but after that catastrophe had taken place without the expected visible coming of the Lord, the scoffers took occasion to deny the coming of the Lord altogether. This Peter foresees in the Spirit. The word fathers denotes therefore not the Patriarchs, the ancestors of the Jewish people, nor (as Dietlein maintains) any preceding generation standing to that immediately succeeding it in the relation of fathers, but the fathers of the second generation of Christians. Otherwise the sentence would be pleonastic, because ἀπ’ ἀδχῆς follows after.—Ἐκοιμήθησαν like ἐπαγγελία, to be understood in a mocking sense, as imitating the language of believers.

All things remain thus from the beginning of the creation.—Διαμένει, they remain without intermission, the whole world remains according to its old constitution, in the consistence which it has once for all, it remains through all mutations. Huther arbitrarily inserts the idea, “since the fathers …. hath come to pass; all things continue thus.…”—Others supply ὡς ἦν, as it was from the beginning of creation, which is equally arbitrary. The construction is pregnant: “All things from the time of our fathers remain in a general way, as they are; yea, from the beginning of creation all things remain essentially the same.” Bengel gives to οὕτω a pregnant force: “All things remain thus as they remain from the beginning of the world.” [Sic permanent, ut permanent.”—M.] Dietlein makes these erring spirits speculative philosophers who advance the proposition that “the history of creation is endless; the destiny of the human race is not one that actually occurs at a given time and terminates the course of the world, but it fulfils itself in an untemporal (unzeitlich) manner (it is immanent, to use the language of modern speculation); and this they infer from the circumstance, that one generation passes away after another, and is dispatched as they suppose, and that therefore it cannot be otherwise with all succeeding generations.” There is no reason to assume such a system in the case of these trifling Epicureans, and ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς is absolutely in conflict with such an assumption.—Luther explains the inference of the false teachers as follows: “The world has stood so long, and has always remained thus; should it now at last become otherwise?” We must however add in the sense of those scoffers: The coming of Christ and the destruction of the world were long since predicted as connected with the destruction of Jerusalem without coming to pass; where then is now the word of the Scripture?

2 Peter 3:5. For it is hidden to them, because they thus will it.—Refutation of the assertion that all things remain in the same condition by the fact of the flood.—Τοῦτο belongs to ὅτι, not to θέλοντας, as in 2 Peter 3:8, and θέλειν denotes not “to choose a view” (eine Ansicht belieben, as Dietlein maintains), for this meaning cannot be verified. Huther, indeed, cites a passage from Herodotus, but it is isolated and proves nothing for the New Testament. It denotes “a guilty ignorance,” as Luther translates; they are wilfully ignorant of it; they are wilfully blind to the consideration of the flood. Winer, p489, note [says: In 2 Peter 3:5, λανθάνει τοῦτο θέλοντας I prefer the rendering: latet eos hoc (what follows) volentes, i. e., volentes ignorant, to the other: latet eos (what follows) hoc (what precedes) volentes, i. e., contendentes. The former brings out more clearly the guilt of the mockers. Neither in Colossians 2:18, is θέλων to be taken as an adverb.—M.]

That the heavens and an earth were from of old, etc.—Οὐρανοί, as usual in the Plural like שָמַיִם, cf. 2 Corinthians 12:2.—Ἔκπαλαι, from of old, from the first origin of all things.—Ἦσαν, de Wette, Huther, al, refer it primarily to οὐρανοί, but then also to γῆ συνεστῶσα. This might pass grammatically (Winer, p368), but how are we to conceive the heavens to consist out of and through water? De Wette, indeed, observes that the conception that the heavens (the firmament) were made out of water, may be justified by Genesis 1:6, but he is conscious of the unsatisfactoriness of this exposition, since he proposes to refer ἐκ to the earth and διά to the heavens (through the water). This is very forced, and in no event applicable to the starry heavens, which are of course included in οὐρανοί. According to the representation of the Bible, the firmament (רָקִּיעַ) consists not out of water, but forms a wall of partition between the waters above and the waters below, Genesis 1:7-8.—The earth originated out of water, out of the dark matter in which it was comprehended, and through water, i. e., (as Winer, p438, explains it) through the agency of water, which partly descended into the lower parts of the earth, and partly formed the clouds in the sky. The earth, moreover, manifoldly received its diversified form through the water, consists in a great measure in water and this element, as already noticed by Oecumenius, holds it together and cements it.—The Indo-Ægyptian cosmogonies, to which de Wette refers, and which are said to contain an account of a chemical origin of the world out of water, are altogether irrelevant. [Bengel: “Gradatio, aqua terram texerat: ex aquis terra emersit: et aqua inserviit, ut terra consisteret, sicut Creator eam formavit et collocavit. Aqua ceteroqui levior Esther, et terra inferiores partes petit, usque eo, ut omnis aqua, in linea recta a superficie ad centrum orbis hujus sive rotundi systematis, terram semper sub se habeat: sed in ipsa superficie terra passim supra aquas plus minusve eminet; et vel hunc aqua locum quasi invita, et potentissimo jussu divino coacta, terræ concessit et reliquit. Exodus 20:4; Psalm 24:2; Psalm 104:5-8; Psalm 136:6; Job 38:10.”—The assertion that the earth arose out of the water is opposed to the dogma of Simon Magus, that it was engendered from fire. Wordsworth referring to Hippolyt, Refut. haer, p165.—M.]

By the word of God may refer both to the heavens and to the earth, cf. Genesis 1:6; Genesis 1:9. But we may also join these words more intimately with συνεστῶσα, which appears to be preferable, as it gives greater prominence to the thought, that it does not consist a moment longer than God permits. Bengel: “By the word of God is defined the duration of all things, so that it cannot be longer or shorter.” [The reference here is to the creative energy of the Divine Logos. The Jewish readers of Peter’s Epistle were familiar with that doctrine, which was opposed to the error of the Gnostics who held that the universe was made by angels or by the demiurge opposed to the supreme God. Irenæus I, 19, declares, that the world was not made by angels, nor by any powers separated from God, but by His Word, i. e., Christ. Psalm 32:6; John 1:3. The same author says, II, 2 Peter 2 : “All things which God made, He made by the indefatigable Word, even as John the disciple of the Lord declares concerning Him, John 1:3.”—M.]

2 Peter 3:6. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.—Δι’ ὧν cannot possibly refer to ὕδατος (Huther), more especially because ὕδατι follows after; nor can it signify: quapropter, nor “through which circumstances it also came to pass that. …” (Dietlein), still less “yet” (dennoch—Luther). It evidently belongs to οὐρανοὶ καὶ γῆ. It was just the heavens and the earth which became the instruments of destruction of the then κόσμος, i. e., for the then existing world of human beings and animals. Peter uses κόσμος in precisely the same sense, 2 Peter 2:5. The heavens became such an instrument of destruction, when their windows were opened and it rained as never before since the creation of the world, Genesis 7:11. The earth which had been founded upon the waters and risen out of the water, Psalm 24:2, in obedience to the command of God was compelled to pour forth its treasures of water, Genesis 8:2, in order to destroy man and beast. Who would have believed this before the flood came? Who would have supposed that the heavens and earth did contain within them such powers of destruction, seeing that they consisted so long before? Every attempt of taking κόσμος in another sense, understanding it of the whole world, of the universe (Huther, al.), or more particularly of the earth (Calov), fails to bring out the full force of ἀπώλετο which was then to be circumscribed to such an extent as to denote a great mutation, which conflicts with grammatical usage. But here we must take a retrospective view of ἔκπαλαι, 2 Peter 3:5, in order to understand the full refutation of the antagonistic proposition. l. Ἔκπαλαι should be joined not only with οὐρανοί, but also with γῆ. The heavens and the earth even in the time of Noah had consisted from of old, upwards of1600 years; from this circumstance the men of that time might have drawn the inference that all things in the world of man would ever remain, even as they were; but how fallacious was that inference! 2. With this is connected the thought, that considering that the earth came into existence and does consist by the Word of God, the people of that time might surely have been able to understand that it could be destroyed by the self-same Word3. The event has shown, that the world of man was destroyed just by the heavens and the earth, which to them had the appearance of an imperishable existence4. Now the heavens and the earth, as intimated in 2 Peter 3:7, underwent also a change in that catastrophe. That flood which covered the whole earth would be inexplicable without an extraordinary influence exerted by God upon the heavens and the earth, whereby their condition was changed. Genesis 9:11; cf. Genesis 10:25, where reference is made to an extraordinary terrestrial catastrophe, expressly testify that the earth was destroyed by the flood, and that it presented in many respects an appearance very different from that which it had before that mighty revolution.

2 Peter 3:7. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by His word are kept in store.—Οἱ δὲ νῦν οὐρανοί. Νῦν belongs also to γῆ and presupposes a change wrought upon the heavens and the earth by the flood; according to our exposition, it is not in antithesis with τότε κόσμος.—Τῷ αὐτοῦ λόγῳ. The same Divine omnipotence which commanded the water to destroy men and to lay waste the earth, will hereafter destroy the present world by fire, and not only change the surface of the earth. [Irenæus calls the last conflagration, “diluvium ignis.” Bengel: “Ignis confutabit empæctas.”—M.]

Kept in store.—θήσαυρίζειν, properly, to lay up in store, to treasure up, e. g., grain or a treasure. The meaning is not, that the present world is only a treasure gathered together and saved from the deluge, merely a remnant of the original world-totality. Such an idea belongs not to θησαυρός. But the reference is doubtless partly to the promise ( Genesis 9:15), and partly to the redemption in Christ. Calov:—“The world, for a certain time, is as yet in store and left unhurt, like treasure stored up in a chest, as yet untouched.” Huther justly rejects Dietlein’s notion that the idea of profit must be held fast, in the sense that the heavens and the earth are the materials stored up for the exercise of punishment, yet so that they shall perish under the punishment.

Reserved unto fire, etc.—Πυρὶ must not be connected with τεθησαυρισμένοι, but with τηρούμενοι. Just as fire is even now an instrument of punishment to the world, so it will be used as an instrument of the destruction of the world in the final judgment, cf. Genesis 19:24; Amos 7:4; Isaiah 66:15; Daniel 7:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10. This is enlarged upon in 2 Peter 3:10.—Τηρούμενοι, used several times by Peter, 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:4; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 2:17.—Ἀπωλείας.—Calov:—“Not perfect destruction, but perdition and eternal death.”—Τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνθρώπων.—Dietlein applies this to the whole human race, because with the exception of the converted, it is ungodly. [But he is here, as so often, inaccurate and unreliable. The reference is simply to the ungodly among men. The following passage from an oration by Melito, Bp. of Sardis, in the second century, published from the Syriac by Cureton, is an interesting relic of ancient exegesis: “There was a flood of water, and all men and living creatures were destroyed by the multitude of waters, and the just were preserved in an ark of wood by the ordinance of God. So also it will be at the last time; there will be a flood of fire, and the earth will be burnt up, together with its mountains, and men will be burnt up with the idols which they have made; and the sea together with the isles will be burnt, and the just shall be delivered from the fury (of the fire), as their fellows in the ark (were saved) from the waters in the deluge”.—M.]

2 Peter 3:8. But let this one thing not escape you, etc.—This is not a second refutation of the scoffers, but the removal of an obstacle which believers might find in the protracted delay of Christ’s advent.

That one day is before the Lord.—The shortest space of time before Him, is in His sight long enough for the execution of events, which in our computation would require a thousand years, and the longest space of time before Him passes away as rapidly as does a day to us. In order to occupy the right stand-point with respect to the coming of Christ, we must apply the standard of eternity, and not use human measures of time. The second clause of the proposition is taken from Psalm 90:4. Time is not absolutely denied in the case of God, but His relation to time is very different from that sustained by us men, the creatures of a day. Bengel:—“God’s ænologium (time-piece for eternity) differs from the horologium (time-piece for hours) of mortals. But how shall we understand this? If we could understand it, Moses and Peter would not have been under the necessity of adding “with the Lord.”—Stier:—“He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, because He thus willed it, may also suddenly accomplish in one day that which under other circumstances would require a thousand years; in like manner He may ordain thousands of years to be to the world week-and-work-days before His great Sabbath begins to dawn. The longest time is only brief after God’s measure; yet it hastens and rushes irresistibly into eternity, just because it is time.”—Thiersch:—“The internal development of mankind, which must have reached its consummation before the end of the world, is so entirely dependent on the Divine disposal that at one time there may occur a step forward so mighty that we should hardly have expected it to take place in a thousand years, while at another time, the course of development, retarded by God, does not progress in a thousand years any further than at other times in a day.” This is as incorrect as Dietlein’s view, that God will punish in one day the sin of thousands of years, and thus equalize the great disfiguring which by so long a duration had come into eternity; that otherwise the duration of time with God is of great, though not of necessary, importance, because a thousand years are before Him as one day.—The Fathers, as is well known, have drawn from this passage the inference that the world is to last six thousand years, especially as Hebrews 4:9 speaks of a Sabbath-time of the people of God, but without sufficient reason.

2 Peter 3:9. The Lord is not tardy.—Οὐ βραδύνει κύριος. Bραδύνω, to delay, to postpone [to be late.—M.], usually construed with the Accusative, but here with the Genitive. See Winer, § 30.—De Wette:—βραδύνει is not taken in relation to a definite point of time, according to human expectation, as in 1 Timothy 3:15, but with reference to the purpose and counsel (of God); for although with reference to the former the author admitted a delay, he denied the title to such an expectation, according to 2 Peter 3:8, because God’s views of time (as well as His thoughts and ways, cf. Isaiah 55:8) are different from men’s. Similarly, Sirach, 35, 22; cf. Habakkuk 2:3.—Calov:—“Although it seems as though He were tardy ( Revelation 6:10), He is not tardy after the manner of men, from procrastination or neglect, but from long-suffering, for, as Justin observes, He prefers repentance to punishment.”—Κύριος, as in 2 Peter 3:8, denotes God the Father.—ὡς τινὲς βραδυτῆτα. The reference here is not to scoffers, who deny the coming of Christ, but to weak believers.

But He is long-suffering towards us, etc.—μακροθυμεῖ. He is long-suffering, putting off His punishment for a long time, Matthew 18:26; Matthew 18:29; Luke 18:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Εἰς ἡμᾶς, towards us, the called, then to us all, to men in general. Βούλεσθαι, to will, as the result of conscious deliberation, but not with irresistible coercion. Calov:—“As an earthly king would desire to see all his subjects happy, as far as they are his subjects, not as far as they are malefactors.”—Χωρεῖν εἰς, to go into, to enter, Matthew 15:17; cf. Ezekiel 18:23; Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4.—The adherents of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination wrongly restrict this passage to the elect. Calvin himself explains it of the will of God revealed in the Gospel as contrasted with His hidden counsel.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. A sure means of resisting the temptations of the last anti-Christian times and of repelling the assaults of deceivers is keeping the prophetic and apostolic word in an honest and good heart, even as Christ often exhorts us to keep His sayings against the subtle attacks of the enemy.—“In the last days there will be a thorough confluence of all the corruption engendered by former unbelief.”—“He who by his lusts is corrupted in error, will do what he desires, and will not be deterred from it by any fear of God. This necessitates an unbelieving cancelling of all the truth of God, and if good proofs of such pretences are wanting, scoffing and witty humour must become the substitutes of proof.” H. Rieger.

2. Peter in making mention of the last days, draws no distinction between the second and third coming of Jesus, as made prominent in the Revelation of John, and alluded to in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24. This circumstance deserves to be noticed in connection with the inquiry relating to the date of this Epistle.

3. “The Word of God composed in writing is the instrument of our conversion and illumination, the store-house of all salutary knowledge and Wisdom of Solomon, and the armory against all sorts of enemies.” Gerhard.

4. Although we must identify the scoffers primarily as those deceivers, who arose at the end of the Apostolic age, the prophecy, nevertheless, is ever undergoing new fulfilments in the course of time, and will have its most fearful fulfilment in the last times. In ancient times, Simon Magus is cited as denying the end of the world (in the Pseudo-Clementine Recogn., 2 Peter 3:3); in the middle ages, a heresy sprung up, which maintained the imperishableness of the world. v. Meyer asks whether that portrait of the future does not perfectly apply to the rebellious liberty and wanton licentiousness of the corrupt priesthood and monastic orders of the middle ages and later times? “The Hegelian school of philosophers (at least those of the left side) deride the Church’s faith in a visible advent of Christ, in the judgment and the end of the world, as a pietistic notion. They see in the dominant influence of the idea (Begriff), brought about by the Hegelian philosophy, Christ returned, and regard the end of pietism, of orthodox Christianity as heretofore existing, to be the end of the world.” Richter.

5. “It is an old trick of the devil to oppose the course of nature to the word and promises of God, seeing that God is the Author of nature, and able at His pleasure to change or wholly destroy it.” Gerhard.

6. The traditions of other nations also contain the hypothesis that the world originated out of water. The Chinese and the Egyptians teach that water is the oldest element. The Vedas of the Hindoos declare that this world was originally water; the code of Manu declares that water was the first thing which God created; Ramayana reports that originally all things were water, and that the earth was formed out of it. But this, so far from being a ground of suspicion against the teaching of Scripture, in connection with other reasons, constitutes a proof in its favour.

7. In like manner all nations have their legends of the great deluge, of which the highest mountains, the graves and caverns of the earth bear testimony. The deluge, according to Scripture, was not partial and local, but universal; but natural science, to be sure, is incompetent to account for it by natural causes.

8. The preservation of the world, as well as its beginning, depends altogether on the will, the word and the direction of God. “The word of God is not only the architect of the heavens and the earth, but also the prop and foundation of this edifice, Hebrews 1:3.” Gerhard.

9. The statements of Peter respecting the world being reserved unto fire, are partly connected with the sayings of Christ, Mark 9:44; Matthew 3:10; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 25:41; Matthew 13:40; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 6:22, and partly, where he goes beyond them, to be regarded as a revelation which he had received. The religions of the pagans and the philosophemes of the Greeks and Romans, frequently describe fire as the end of the world. Zoroaster assumed a dissolution of the mountains by the action of fire. The Orphic cosmogony, Heraclitus and the Stoics, the Epicureans, Pliny, Ovid, the Gallicans and the Scandinavians coincide in this respect. The Mexicans describe the fourth age of the world, as the age of fire. The Hindoos also teach the future burning of the world. “This fact proves nothing against the truth of this doctrine. On the contrary, it can only deepen the overpowering impression of the sacred revelations of the final judgment.” Dietlein.—“As men are melted and purified by the fire (of the law, the love of God and the sufferings of Christ), so it will fare with the earth which goes the course of man. In the time of Tycho de Brahe, according to the opinion of some, another solar system met perhaps a similar fate.” Richter.

10. Although time was created simultaneously with the creature, it is nevertheless to God also a reality, otherwise He would not interfere with time and be conscious of what occurs in time; but He is superior to the river of time and controls it. A thousand years with Him are as one day, similar, (so Bengel puts it), as a thousand flourins are with a rich man as a farthing.

11. Even before Justin and other fathers gave currency to the opinion that the world should last six thousand years, the ancient Etruscans taught from tradition that the world’s duration was fixed at6000 years, that the sixth millennium would bring the end and the great year.

12. Calov rightly declares 2 Peter 3:9 to be an unanswerable proof against the absolute decree of Calvin, and quotes also 1 Timothy 2:4. God wills to save all men only in Christ and in the order of repentance and faith.

13. Bp. Conybeare on 2 Peter 3:5 : “The truth of the case Isaiah, God does not interpose in a miraculous manner upon every instance of sin: as He hath made men free agents, so He doth not interrupt the use of this liberty by breaking in upon the common order of causes and effects. Hence nature goes on for the most part in one uniform course; and exemplary punishments are reserved only for extraordinary occasions. Yet still God hath not left Himself without witness: many predictions of His prophets have been already confirmed by fact; the old world was destroyed by a miracle, and Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth for an example, having suffered the vengeance of eternal fire.” Instances of this kind, it must be confessed, are rare: however, those few which have been afforded us are enough to alarm the sinner. Men should not flatter themselves that their crimes are forgotten, because they are yet unpunished: but rather dread the delays of vengeance. Though mercy spares them for the present, yet this very mercy, if slighted, will increase their future ruin.—M.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The advent of Christ: 1. Its signs and certainty2. The particulars attending it3. The preparation for it.—As the coming of the Lord draws nearer, the denial and derision of it will grow stronger.—It should be our most anxious care to be ready, whether the Lord come early or late.—Why does God defer the full punishment of the ungodly to the day of judgment? 1. Because the measure of their unrighteousness is not yet wholly filled; 2. Because it is His will to accord to sinners room for repentance; 3. In order to set His long-suffering towards all men, in the clearest light; 4. In order to make more manifest the wickedness of those who will not be converted.—Let us take heed, not to abuse the long-suffering of God, but to know the time of our visitation, Luke 19:44.—What is the longest life in the light of eternity? A span of time of1½ to 2 hours’ duration.

Starke:—As frail men grow soon tired and are overcome of sleep, so it is with Christians; hence it is necessary that they should be constantly stirred, shaken and roused, Hebrews 12:1.—The works of our bad Christians show that they believe neither in heaven nor hell, neither in angels nor in the devil, but the truth will come home to them, Zephaniah 1:12.—Only see, how deeply man can fall through the violence of his lusts; deeper than the devil himself, who denies neither God nor His judgment, but trembles at it, Matthew 8:29; James 2:19.—Ignorance in things human or Divine is never good, but malicious ignorance, which refuses to hear and to know the truth, is worthy of hell-fire, Isaiah 1:11.—The present world will be more severely visited than the former world, which was laid waste by water; but this world will be burnt up by a consuming fire, which the Lord Himself will kindle, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8.—The long-suffering of God is accompanied by tender love, looking to the salvation of men; hence He does not overtake them with His judgment of wrath, but gives them time enough to repent, Ezekiel 33:11; Ezekiel 2:1.

V. Herberger:—1. How Peter answers five questions relating to the last day2. How thoroughly he instructs us as to the manner of our preparing for it. Ad1. a. Whether we are yet to wait confidently for the last day? b. When and at what time it will come? c. Why Jesus has not come for so long a time? d and e. How and in what manner the last day will come? f. What the Lord Jesus will do and perform on the last day? Ad2. a. In holy conversation and godliness, b To wait and haston unto the coming of the day of the lord, c. To give all dillgence that we may be found of Him without spot and blameless.

J. C. Storr:—The waiting of believers for the coming of the day of God: 1. What they wait for; 2. who are they who wait? 3. How do they wait?

Stier:—The Apostle’s word concerning the expectation of the last day: 1. The certainty of its coming; 2. The manner of its coming; 3. The preparation for it.

Kapff:—The beginning and completion of the Kingdom of God: 1. The beginning in the creation of the world and man; 2. The completion in the renovation of man and of the world.

Lisco:—The completion with which the citizens of the kingdom comfort themselves. The emptiness of the objections against the Bible-dogma of the Lord’s coming to judgment.

Staudt:—The destruction of the world: 1. The reasons why many do not believe it; 2. How does the destruction of the world affect us?

Sharp:—[O what confusion will this be to all unbelievers and impenitent sinners, when they shall see that very Person, of whom they thought so meanly, and whose offers of salvation they often despised, appearing in the clouds of heaven with ten thousand glorious angels about Him, and coming in the most terrible manner that can be imagined, to call them to account for their lives past, and to execute judgment upon all ungodly men! They will not then any longer, with the scoffers, that Peter tells us should be in the last days, say, “where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation;” for they shall be convinced that, however His coming was for good reasons deferred, yet He shall then come to purpose; to the everlasting confusion of their faces, that opposed, or despised, or neglected Him and His religion. Then shall they say, Yonder He Isaiah, whom we slighted, whose religion we denied, whose servants and followers we took to be no better than a company of credulous fools! Lo, yonder He is in the clouds, whose tenders of mercy we have refused, whose counsels we have rejected, to whose Spirit we have done despite! Yonder He is: but no longer “a carpenter’s son;” no longer “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;” no longer a mean, obscure Galilean; no longer a crucified God, as we in derision called Him: but the everlasting Son of the everlasting Father; the Sovereign of angels! the Judge of mankind and of devils; the Lord of all things both in earth and heaven.—M.]

[Cf. Joseph Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of St. Peter. 2. Epistle, 2 Peter 3. Works, II:753.

Additional Sermon-Themes:

2 Peter 3:3. Ridicule in matters of religion. Modern infidelity. Some prophecies are daily fulfilling.

2 Peter 3:4. Miracles now neither necessary to the conviction of unbelievers, nor the conversion of sinners, (Fiddes). Consistency between the efficacy of prayer and the uniformity of nature. (Chalmers).

2 Peter 3:8. God’s eternity in reference to the suspension of his promised purposes, (R. Hall).—M.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - German: “This Epistle, beloved, I now write you as the second in order to rouse in it [as also in the former] your pure mind by way of remembrance”.—M.]

[ Lachmann and Tischendorf read ὑμῶν. According to the testimony of most of the authorities this must be considered the original reading. [ἡμῶν, Rec. Oec; ὑμῶν A. B. C. K. L, Cod. Sin.—M.]

Translate: That ye should remember the words spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour given by your Apostles. Alford.….and the commandment of the Apostles of their Lord and Saviour. Wordsworth. Fronmüller agrees with Alford in the construction but, retaining ἡμῶν, renders:.… and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour, given to you by us the Apostles.—As the authorities are overwhelmingly against ἡμῶν, Alford’s rendering is the most correct and grammatical.—The construction is difficult, but the sense is clear and ὑμῶν so far from affecting the genuineness of the Epistle, is an evidence for its genuineness. A forger would certainly have used ἡμῶν, but a real Apostle may content himself with modestly saying ὑμῶν.—M.]

FN#2 - ἐσχάτου Rec. K. L. ἐσχάτων. A. B.C*., Cod. Sin, Vulg, Copt, al, Alf, Words.—M.]

[German: “at the end of the days.” Translate: “in the last of the days.”—M.]

FN#3 - Scholz, Alf, Wordsw.—M.]

FN#4 - Translate: Scoffers in scoffing, or (mockers in mockery.) Lillie.—M.] [αὐτῶν before ἐπιθνμίας Rec, A, al, Oec.—M.] αὐτῶν after ἐπιθυμίας [B. C. K. L.] Griesbach. [Alford.]

FN#5 - German:.…. all things remain thus from the beginning of the creation. Better than “continue as they were from,” etc, in E. V.—M.]

FN#6 - German: For it is hidden to them, because they thus will it, that the heavens and an earth were from of old out of water and by means of water consisting by the word of God.

Translate: For this escapes them of their own will, that the heavens were from of old, and the earth out of water and by means of water consisting by the word of God.—M.]

FN#7 - 2 Peter 3:7. Lachmann reads τῷ αὐτῷ, by the same word, as in 2 Peter 3:6. But Tischendorf with B. C. K. L. reads τῷ αὐτοῦ.

[Translate with German: “by His word.” With this single, but important variation, the E. V. cannot be improved here.]

FN#8 - παρὰ κυρίου. Cod. Sin.—M.]

FN#9 - German: But let not this one thing be hidden to you, beloved, that one day is before the Lord as a thousand years, etc.

Translate: But let this one thing not escape you, (with allusion to 2 Peter 3:5), beloved, that one day, etc.—M.]

FN#10 - Insert before κύριος, Rec, K. L, al.; omit A. B. C, Cod. Sin.] Lachm. and Tischendorf.

FN#11 - Cod. Sin. δἰ ὑμᾶς.—M.]

[German: The Lord delayeth not with the promise, ae some consider it a delay, but He hath patience with us, not willing that some should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.

Translate: The Lord is not tardy concerning His promise, as some account tardiness, but He is longsuffering towards us, etc. Alford.—M.]


Verses 10-18

2 Peter 3:10-18

10 But the day[FN12] of the Lord will come as a thief in the night,[FN13] in the which the[FN14] heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt[FN15] with fervent 11 heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.[FN16] Seeing then[FN17] that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye[FN18] to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hastening[FN19] unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements 13 shall melt with fervent heat?[FN20] Nevertheless[FN21] we, according to his promise,[FN22] look for new heavens and a new[FN23] earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in 15 peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him[FN24] hath written unto you; 16As also in all[FN25] his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which[FN26] are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own de struction.[FN27] 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.[FN28] 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.[FN29]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

2 Peter 3:10. But the day of the Lord will come.—The Apostle having made mention of the long-suffering of God, now says, as it were, let none deceive himself, the day of the Lord will not fail to appear, but it will come surely and suddenly. Ἤξει δὲ ἡμέρα κυρίου; it is called the day of God in 2 Peter 3:12; hence κυρίου is here doubtless=θεοῦ, as in 2 Peter 3:9. So Joel 1:15; Ezekiel 13:5; Isaiah 2:12. The day of Jehovah; cf. James 5:7. Elsewhere the day of the Lord Jesus, 2 Corinthians 1:14. The day of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 2:2; also the day of the Lord’s coming, Mai. 2 Peter 3:2. The last expression contains an intimation that the beginning of that great period of judgment must be distinguished from the Lord’s coming in the same. The former sets in unexpectedly and without notice. The Lord’s coming will be unexpected, but not unnoticed by the ungodly; it will be attended by a war-cry, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

As a thief in the night.—The same figure is used by the Lord Himself in the Gospels, Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39. Paul also compares the coming of that day to the burglarious entry of a thief. The passages in Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15, which contain this description of the Lord’s coming, give prominence to the suddenness and surprise of His coming, not to its being unnoticed. His coming is free from surprise and terror to those who watch and observe the signs of the times; it is to them rather a joyful event, Luke 21:28.—The figure of the thief contains also the secondary thought, that those who are held fast in the sleep of sin and security, shall lose in that catastrophe whatever they have, Matthew 13:12; John 10:10.

In which the heavens shall pass away with a crashing roar; ῥοιζηδόν fromῥοιζέω, ῥοίζω, to rush, to whiz, to crash; a word formed to resemble the sound, rushing, whizzing, crashing, here only in the New Testament. Oecumenius understands it of the crackling noise of a destructive fire; de Wette, of the crash of falling houses. The Apostle probably thinks of both, (Huther).—Παρελεύσονται; our Lord uses the same word, Matthew 24:35; cf. Psalm 102:27; Isaiah 34:4; Revelation 20:11.—Οὐρανοί, the sky and the starry heavens, as in 2 Peter 3:7; cf. Psalm 72:7; Psalm 102:26; Isaiah 34:4; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:17.

But the elements shall be dissolved in fire, and—shall be burned up.—Στοιχεῖα; the rudiments of speech, then the constituent elements of the universe; of course not the elements in the sense of chemistry, but in the sense of antiquity, which since the time of Empedocles assumed the existence of four elements or rudiments of things; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 7:17; Wisdom of Solomon 19:17.—Calov restricts the word to water and air, because the earth is specifically mentioned afterward. But de Wette rightly observes that the earth is referred to first as an element, and afterward as a totality. There is nothing contradictory in the idea that this elemental fire shall be suspended in its action by a stronger and supernatural fire. A total annihilation of the elemental constituents is out of the question; the reference is rather to the supposition of Gennadius and Oecumenius, that “the old heavens and the old earth shall be changed and renovated into better.”—A reference to 2 Peter 3:12, where the στοιχεῖα are mentioned, and not the earth expressly, shows plainly that στοιχεῖα relates primarily to the earth. δὲ, moreover intimates as much. Bengel, on the other hand, sees here, with many of the fathers, a reference to the sun, the moon and the stars. The sense= θεμέλια, foundations of the earth, given by others, cannot be verified. [The view of Bengel is that of Justin, Theophilus of Antioch, Polycrates, Mede, Hammond, Whitby and Alford. The last named author, after quoting Justin, argues that δὲ followed presently by the καί when reference is made to the earth, necessarily belongs to the heavens, and that the mention of the heavenly bodies as affected by the great day is constant in Scripture, cf. Matthew 24:29; Isaiah 13:9-10; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 34:4, etc. On the other hand, the view propounded in the text is that of Wordsworth, who says that “St. Peter’s meaning seems to be, that the στοιχεῖα, elements or rudiments, of which the universe is composed and compacted, will be loosed; that Isaiah, the frameworks of the world will be disorganized, and this is the sense of στοιχεῖα in the LXX, Wisdom of Solomon 7:17; Wisdom of Solomon 19:18, and in Hyppolyt. Philos. pp219318. The dissolution is contrasted with the consistency described by the word συνεστῶσα in 2 Peter 3:5. The heavens are reserved for fire ( 2 Peter 3:7) and will pass away with a rushing noise, and, being set on fire, will be dissolved ( 2 Peter 3:12) the elements will be on fire and melt ( 2 Peter 3:12), and be reduced to a state of confusion; the earth and the works therein will be burnt up.—There does not seem, therefore, to be any cause for abandoning the common meaning of στοιχεῖα, the elemental principles of which the universe is made.”—M.] Λυθήσονται. Gerhard: “When the preserving and supporting power of God, which Isaiah, as it were, the soul of the world, shall separate itself from the macrocosm, it will fall together like a soulless corpse.”

The works.—To wit, the works of nature and of art [Bengel: operæ naturse et artis.—M.] trees, plants, minerals, animals, cities, houses, provisions, instruments, etc, cf. Habakkuk 2:13.

[Shall be burned up.—The variation εὑρεθήσεται of Cod. Sin. B. and K. is difficult to account for.—M.]

2 Peter 3:11. Since then all these things are being dissolved.—Λυομένων, not λυθησομένων. The Apostle vividly enters into the catastrophe and mentally anticipates it according to the characteristic, which has been noticed in 2 Peter 2:10; 2 Peter 3:3, and especially also in the first Epistle. Winer, p358, explains it as follows: “These things, by their nature intended to be dissolved—the destiny of dissolution is already inherent in them.” Calov applies the Present to the certainty of the event. [The reading οὔτως accords with the abrupt style of Peter, and makes the scene all the more vivid.—M.]

As what sort of persons ought ye to evidence yourselves? etc.—Ποταπός or ποδαπός from τόπος or δάπεδον, land, soil, signifies properly, from what country, where born, whence in point of origin, not equivalent to ποῖος. Cf. Matthew 8:27; Luke 1:29; Luke 7:39; 1 John 3:1. It often denotes a question of surprise, to which no answer is given; but here the answer is added in 2 Peter 3:12. Sense: “Ye must evidence yourselves as persons of more noble origin, as citizens of the heavenly kingdom that are only strangers here on earth.” This seems to be an echo of the first Epistle. The common use of ποταπός in the New Testament as connected with an exclamation, is not decisive against our interpretation. Huther wants to supply before ποταποὺς, “consider then,” but this is arbitrary. De Wette takes ποταποὺς in the sense of quantus, how great, how strong, how diligent ought ye to be in holy conversation. But this is ungrammatical. The connection is this: Considering that this entire world-system, with whatever it contains, is doomed to perish, it becomes us Christians to tear our hearts from all inordinate love of the world, and to qualify ourselves even now as citizens of the celestial world. Augustine: “If there is an end of the world, if we have to move away from this world, we must not love the world;” and in another passage: “Seeing that Christ shall come to judgment the very day in which the world shall be dissolved, and that all must appear before His judgment-seat, let us live in the true fear of God, serve Him in holiness and righteousness, and carefully guard against sins.”—Ἀναστροφαῖς. The Plural as in 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 2:1, to mark the different forms and directions of a holy walk and piety, cf. 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:3.

Ver12 Expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God.—Προσδοκᾶν.—Not with Luther: To wait as contrasted with haste, but looking for, expecting something while enduring the pressure of evil, cf. 2 Peter 3:14.—Σπεύδοντας. Some commentators arbitrarily supply εἰς; the sense of yearning or longing for cannot be verified; it signifies to urge, to press, to hasten, and applies therefore not only to earnest occupation, but, as Bengel asserts, to inward struggling, to perseverance in prayer for the hastening of the Kingdom of Christ, and to preparation for it in repentance and holiness. At the same time the remark of Richter is true, that “in a certain respect it is visionary, dangerous and passionate to pray for the hastening of the end of the world and the termination of the æon of Gospel-calling.”

[Trench (Bible Revision, p112) pronounces for the marginal reading in E. V, “hasting the coming” (accelerantes adventum, Erasmus), and explains: The faithful, that Isaiah, shall seek to cause the day of the Lord to come the more quickly by helping to fulfil those conditions, without which it cannot come—that day being no day inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it is free to the Church to help and hasten on by faith and by prayer, and through a more rapid accomplishing of the number of the elect.” De Wette, followed by Alford: “They hasten it by perfecting, in repentance and holiness, the work of the Gospel, and thus diminishing the need of the μακροθυμία, 2 Peter 3:9,” to which the delay of that day is owing. Alford, in reply to Huther’s objection, says, “It is true that the delay or hastening of that day is not man’s matter, but God’s: but it is not uncommon in Scripture, to attribute to us those Divine Acts, or abstinences from acting, which are really and in their depth, God’s own. Thus we read, that ‘He could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief,’ Matthew 13:58, compared with Mark 6:5-6; thus repeatedly of man’s striving with, hindering, quenching God’s Holy Spirit.”—Wordsworth considers this remarkable thought as compared with St. Peter’s speech in Acts 3, as another silent evidence of the genuineness of this Epistle.—M.]

Τὴν παρουσίαν. See 2 Peter 3:10, cf. Titus 2:13; Revelation 16:14; Acts 17:31. The term “day of God” cannot excite surprise, if respect is had to the Old Testament. Lachmann’s notion that the author had given up the hope of Christ’s coming, I and mixed it up with God’s future day of judgment, is incongruous, for he treats of the Lord’s παρουσία in 2 Peter 3:4.

For the sake of which the heavens being on fire, shall dissolve (themselves), and the elements shall melt away with fervent heat; δἰ ὴ̔ν. It is best to connect ῆν with παρουσίαν, and to take διά as indicating the occasioning cause. Winer, p418, [who sanctions however the construction recommended in Appar. Crit, which is also that adopted by Alford.—M.] Dietlein renders “in honour of which, as it were,” but this rendering is inapposite. If the plan of God is to be carried out, this sin-stained world must perish. Augustine says of the succession of the events, “After the judgment the world will be on fire; that Isaiah, it will be entirely burned up.” This is also thought probable by Gerhard, who holds moreover that the burning of the world will take place before the wicked are cast into hell and the godly received to heaven.

Καυσοῦσθαι and τήκεσθαι, to melt like wax, are ἅπαξ λεγ. The Present is used here for the same reason, as in 2 Peter 3:11, above. [The note of Wolfius, (Curæ Philologicæ et Criticæ) on the force of these Presents will be found useful: “Interim nihil est mutandum. Patet enim, Apostolum in duobus his commatibus, data opera, nunc præsenti λυομένων et τήκεται, nunc futuro λυθήσεται, de ea ru uti, quæ tam certa futura erat, ac si jam fieret.”—M.]

2 Peter 3:13. But we, according to His promise, expect new heavens and a new earth.—The Apostle, for the comfort of believers, contrasts the destruction of the present world system with the expectation of new heavens and a new earth. This hope is founded on the word of prophecy, Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; Isaiah 30:26; cf. Revelation 21:1. This does not denote an ideal state of blessedness, but a real spirituo-corporeal body-world. So Anselm: “The whole earth, which carried in its lap the body of the Lord, will be a paradise.” Augustine: “The promises of God are apprehended by faith; hope cannot reach them, love cannot understand them; they surpass our longings and desires; they may be obtained, but cannot be estimated.” Grotius mentions that Plato also speaks of a pure earth and a pure heavens. Calov suggests a substantial recreation of heaven. More correctly even Irenæus: “Neither the substance, nor the existence of the creature will be annihilated.” According to His promise, κατὰ τὸ ἐπάγγελμα αὐτοῦ sc. God.

In which dwelleth righteousness.—Not abstr. pro concreto, the righteous, but true righteousness itself or a perfect agreement with the will of God, cf. Revelation 21:27; Revelation 21:3. This is added partly for the encouragement, partly for the consolation of believers with reference to their unrighteous oppressors. Huther produces similar passages from the book of Enoch, in which reference seems to be made to our Epistles. [The passages are Enoch2:27; 55:5; 54:4, 5; 90:17.—Wordsworth says, that the Apostle “does not represent the heavens as destined to destruction, but as hereafter to be transformed (ἀναστοιχειουμένους) to a more glorious condition. As the mortal bodies of the saints are dissolved by death, and will not be reduced to annihilation, but will, by reason of Christ’s resurrection, and of their incorporation in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, be renewed to immortality, so the heavenly bodies will be renewed by fire and delivered from the bondage of corruption. See Romans 8:20-22.—The material creation has sympathized with us in our fall, and it will rejoice with the righteous in their redemption and revivification, when their mortal bodies will rise and bloom anew like vernal herbs and flowers, in the glorious spring-tide of the resurrection. See Eusebius, Severus and others here in the Catenâ, Cramer, p100.—Thus the benefits of the incarnation and the redemption wrought by the second Adam extend also to the natural world. He has restored already the free use of the creatures to us (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:23), and He will raise the Creation itself to a more glorious state of being.”—M.]

2 Peter 3:14. Wherefore, beloved, expecting these things, be diligent, etc.—The Apostle founds here an exhortation to holiness on the last named circumstance [i. e., the expectation of the new heavens and the new earth.—M.], as in 2 Peter 3:11, on the expectation of that catastrophe.—Ἄσπιλοι; cf. 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 6:14; James 1:27.—Ἀμώμητοι, Philippians 2:15, like ἀμύμων, blameless; that you cannot be blamed; for the opposite, see 2 Peter 2:13.—Αυʼτῷ, in His judgment, before Him, connect with εὑρεθῆναι; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:20.—Εὑρεθῆναι, 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 2:22, in His day.—Ἐν εἰρήνῃ. De Wette explains it: For your peace=εἰς εἰρήνην; but in that case the Apostle would certainly have expressed it. Better Calov: “In peace with God and with men.” [Alford suggests, that considering the familiarity of the Eastern tongue with the expression ἐν εἰρήνῃ, the phrase may have an onward as well as a present meaning, as in πορεύεσθαι ἐν εἰρήνῃ and εἰς εἰρήνην, Acts 16:36 : James 2:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48; and denote that eternal peace of which all earthly peace is but a feeble foretaste.—M.] More specific definition of ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι. Gerhard: “Strive that the Lord at His coming may find you peaceful and reconciled.” The thought is connected with δικαιοσύνη, 2 Peter 3:13. Dietlein thinks that it is added with reference to the subject about to be stated by the Apostle, viz, the peace-destroying animosity of the deceivers, and refers to Judges 19. But Peter states first something else. It has a good meaning with reference to the many internal and external peace-breakers, especially at that time, Hebrews 12:14.

2 Peter 3:15. And account the longsuffering of our Lord your salvation, [see Appar Crit.—M.]; μακροθυμίαν, cf. 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22. Every postponement of the day of judgment is also an extension of grace for believers, as far as they may make further progress in holiness. Dietlein: “Apart from it, every converted Christian, reviewing his conversion, is constrained to admit that unless the longsuffering of God did insert a development-process of sin and redemption between apostacy and judgment, his conversion would have been impossible and the merited judgment would have overtaken him also.” To this must be added the observation that since the text reads σωτηρίαν in general, not σωτηρίαν ὑμῶν, the salvation of many others also is founded on this longsuffering. [After this exegesis, it is difficult to understand why Fronmüller retains the old Lutheran rendering.—M.] Roos: “The passage must not be limited to those persons who live at that time, but rather be extended to those who may still be born, if the long-suffering of God preserves this present world for a long time.”

Even as also our beloved brother Paul—hath written unto you.—The deceivers, to whom Peter refers, probably abused the Epistles of the Apostle St. Paul, and represented Peter and Paul as contradicting each other; on this account Peter cites the testimony of Paul as confirmatory of his doctrine, and shows that between Paul and himself there is an intimate communion of spirit, and that the incident, mentioned Galatians 2:11, was unable to extinguish his love.

As also, relates, not to what immediately precedes, but to the whole exhortation, 2 Peter 3:14-15, to holiness in view of the coming of Christ. Dietlein supposes that since the μακροθυμία of God is treated of only in Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22, the reference is evidently to the Epistle to the Romans, but the supposition that καθώς is to be thus limited, is wrong, and ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν is decidedly opposed to it. Peter must allude to an Epistle of Paul, which, like the present Epistle of Peter, is addressed to the Christians of Asia Minor. To say that the Epistle to the Romans was addressed to Gentiles in general, is no sufficient explanation. Hence Bengel, Gerhard, al, think it to be the Epistle to the Hebrews on account of Hebrews 9:26, etc.; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:37; others, the Epistle to the Ephesians, on account of Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 6:8; Ephesians 3:4. The reference is perhaps to all these; de Wette conjectures 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, and 2 Thessalonians 2:16; but the above named reason is against this view [which is also that of Alford, who meets the objection founded on ὑμῖν, by saying that this Epistle is addressed to all Christians alike, cf. 2 Peter 1:1; and that all that can be inferred from ὑμῖν amounts to this, that this Epistle belongs to a date when the Pauline Epistles were no longer the property only of the Churches to which they were written, but were dispersed through, and were considered to belong to the whole Christian Church.—Benson considered the reference to be the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians, because addressed to Asia Minor Churches; this is also the opinion of Wordsworth, who notices also that this text is quoted by Origen de Recta Fide, sect. II, and ascribed by him without any hesitation to St. Peter.—M.]

Our beloved brother.—Brother must be taken in the narrow sense of “fellow-apostle.” How beautiful is this trait of Peter’s character, that he harboured no unkind remembrance of the sharp rebuke which Paul, who excelled him in his labours for the kingdom of God, had administered to him, and that he joyfully acknowledged his Apostolic calling.

According to the wisdom.—Dietlein: “Not so much preëminence in knowledge as aptitude in teaching, knowledge which peculiarly qualifies for teaching; hence ministerial grace accorded to him.” Chrysostom does not hesitate to prefer Paul as a teacher to all others and to call him the teacher of all wisdom. [Polycarp ad Philipp. I:3; “No one like me can equal the wisdom of the blessed Paul, who being absent wrote to you Epistles (ὑμῖν ἔγραψεν ἐπιστολὰς) into which, if you look diligently, you will be enabled to be built up unto the faith.”—M.]

2 Peter 3:16. As also in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things.—Ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς. Even if the Article is retained, which is probably spurious, there is no necessity to suppose here a reference to all the Epistles of Paul as a finished whole. It cannot be determined which and how many of the Pauline Epistles were known to Peter.—Ὡς sc. ἔγραψε; περὶ τούτων; of the coming of Christ, the end of the world and of what is connected with those events; stedfastness in faith and zeal in good works. Here Peter might refer more particularly to the Epistles to the Thessalonians.

Among which are some things difficult to understand.—ἐν οἰς Gerhard: “Peter here makes no direct reference to the Pauline Epistles, but to the subjects of which they treat, among which are some hard to understand,” which belongs to the nature of the last things.—Ἃ στρεβλοῦσιν; στρεβλόω; from στρέβλη, an instrument of torture, a rock, a screw, a press, hence to screw, to strain, to wind, to twist or distort. A very striking word, peculiar to Peter, to describe the perversion of the Scriptures. As to the things themselves Bengel refers to 2 Timothy 2:18; Gerhard, to false views of the millennium, of justification by faith, of Christian liberty, of the coming of Antichrist, and especially to the justification and excuses of lawless extravagancies.

The ignorant and unstable.—The reference is perhaps rather to the deceived than to the deceivers and scoffers, for whom these two words would be too mild. On ἀστήρικτοι, cf. 2 Peter 2:14.

As also the other Scriptures; ὠς καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς γραφάς. Here again the reference is not to a completed collection of the writings of the New Testament, from which the inference might be drawn that this Epistle is of a comparatively late origin. De Wette, without sufficient reasons, understands passages of Scripture. The reference is probably to the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle of James and the prophetical writings, which, according to 2 Peter 3:2 and 2 Peter 1:20, must not be excluded.

To their own perdition.—Cf. 2 Peter 2:2; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:19. Huther: “The perversion of the Scriptures has this consequence, since they use their distorted sayings in order to harden themselves in their carnal lusts.” We have only to add, that they also bring perdition on themselves because they deprive others of salvation.

[Alford notes the remarkable coincidence, that Peter, well acquainted as he was with the writings of Paul, should have written this word, which is the very one used by that Apostle of Barnabas, at Antioch, when he συναπήχθη with the hypocrisy of Peter and the other Jews.—M.];—συναπαχθέντες, together with them and others which they had long since deceived.

Ye fall from your own stedfastness.—ἐκπίπτειν. Cf. Galatians 5:4, to fall from, to be banished;—στηριγμός, standing fast, stedfastness in faith and hope; contrast to 2 Peter 3:16, above. He refers to 2 Peter 1:12 where he declared his readers to be established in the truth. Roos: “The state of grace is the fortress. There God Himself is the stronghold and castle; Christ the rock on which we are builded; there we are assured by the privilege, that all things must work together for good to them that love God; there we are, by the power of God, kept unto salvation. A Christian falls from this his own fortress, if he loses grace, and neglecting to watch and pray and to attend to the word of God, gradually yields to the commission of intentional sins, which, whether by some thoroughly matured dogma or only by hasty judgments, he erroneously regards now in a very different light, and consequently excuses or even justifies.”—Ἰδίου Gerhard: “Not, as though they could of their own strength persevere in faith, but because only true believers continue firm to the end.”—There is no reference here to continuance in communion with the Church.

2 Peter 3:18. But grow in the grace, etc.—Gerlach: “The best preservation is continual practice of faith, continual growth in grace and knowledge: then we are proof against all assaults.” Similarly Calvin. [“Haec unica est perseverandi ratio, si assidue progredimur”.—M.]; αὐξάνετε Cf. 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:10. We grow in grace, if we apprehend it with ever increasing faith and keep it, and thus we are privileged to enjoy it more and more richly. Cf. 1 Peter 5:10.—Κυρίου belongs only to γνώσει not to χάριτι, [This is doubtful, since the preposition extends to both. There is no difficulty if the subjective force of χάριτι and the objective force of γνώσει as connected with Christ is brought out. “Grow in the grace of which Christ is the Author, in the knowledge of which Christ is the object.”—M.].—Great value is set here at the close, as before at the beginning of the Epistle, on the knowledge of the person, the office, and the benefits of Christ, cf. 2 Peter 1:2.—Αὐτῷ δόξα. The doxology refers to Christ in proof of His Divinity. [Alford suggests Pliny’s letter, “hymnus Christo quasi Deo.”—M.]. Cf. Jude 25; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 4:9; Ephesians 3:21.—Εἰς ἡμέραν αἰῶνος not found elsewhere. Bengel explains ἡμέρα in contrast with night: “Eternity is a day without night, purely and perpetually enduring.” Huther: “The day in which eternity begins as contrasted with time, but which day is likewise all eternity itself.” The selection of this expression is best explained by reference to 2 Peter 3:8. Eternity counts with God as one day. Augustine: “It is only one day, but an everlasting day without yesterday to precede it, and without to-morrow to follow it; not brought forth by the natural sun, which shall exist no more, but by Christ, the Sun of Righteousness.”

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Unbelief is generally blind to the grossest contradictions in which it is entangled, even as those scoffers do neither see the folly of affirming a beginning of the world and to deny the end of the world, nor the absurdity of the conclusion: “That which has not yet happened until to-day, will happen nevermore.” “God has not made the worlds for eternity, like Himself, but they come and pass away. In the case of each world there was a time when it did not exist, and there will be a time, when its place shall not be found. How distant soever the day of the destruction of our earth may be, when it does come there will be men on earth, like ourselves, occupied, as we are, with expectations and hopes of a long future. He that rolls up the heavens like a garment and scatters suns and earths like dust, He only is the Lord. Our science will never reach the laws which bring about the destruction of our earth.” Schleiermacher.

2. Although loving gratitude to Jesus, who gave up His life as a sin-offering for us, must after all remain our strongest motive to holiness, Scripture teaches us that the thought of death and the judgment, of the end of the world and eternity, should move us to vigilance, seriousness, soberness, and to be on our guard against the security of the world. If the disciples in their time needed the pre-announcement of Christ’s coming and the end of the world, it is doubly and trebly needed in our time. “Hastening the coming of Jesus must not degenerate into an impatient drawing near of the Judge by murmuring against others; we ought the rather be occupied with clearing away and preparation in our own affairs, in order that we may be found in peace.” Rieger.

3. “The new earth is the eternal and chief scene of the Kingdom of God, Psalm 37; Revelation 21. It will not be uninhabited. As the nature of the earth has been made to correspond and conform to man in his fallen and corrupt condition, so it will be made to correspond and conform to man purified, recovered and transfigured into glorious righteousness. Augustine already teaches that the renovated world will answer to the bodies of men which will likewise be renovated.” Richter.

4. Even the older theologians held that the day of the Lord, in which such great and decisive events are to be transacted, in which so many millions are to be judged, must not be made to denote a day of twelve or twenty-four hours. It ought rather to be taken in the sense of a diet [In German, Reichs-tag, Land-tag, Fürsten-tag, literally, day or diet of an empire, county or princes, i. e., a congress of the representatives of an empire, a country, or of princes. The reference in the text is to the name of such assemblies, which although referring to a day, continue in session for weeks or months. So the day of the Lord denotes not a single day, but an indefinite period of time.—M.].

5. The Roman Catholic Church charges the Scripture with obscurity, and founds her charge on 2 Peter 3:16. In reply we may notice,

a. The correct interpretation of the passage shows that Peter refers immediately to the difficulty of understanding the subjects treated in those Epistles.

b. These are difficult to understand because they relate to future events, and because the soul-man [so called in respect of the predominance of the ψυχή.—M.] finds it so difficult to understand the things of the Spirit.

c. Chrysostom’s assertion concerning the Scripture is irrefutable, viz.: “Whatever is necessary [to be known and to our salvation.—M.] is plain and sure in it, so that all, even the unlearned, may understand it.”

d. There are good reasons why many things in the Scriptures are hard to understand.

“Many parts of the truth of God must be clothed in concealment in order to prevent aversion to it, to prompt diligent inquiry, and in order to be reserved as a reward of the fidelity exhibited in such search.” Rieger. These difficulties contain a peculiar attraction, a stirring up to prayer, a confounding of our vanity, a concealing of the truth from the eyes of the meddling.

6. If the genuineness of this Epistle be admitted, it affords us a clear proof of the futile pretences of the critics of the Tubingen school in respect of the Pauline Epistles, e. g., of Zeller, who says in the Theol. Jahrb., 1846, II.: “Of the twenty-seven writings contained in our Canon, there is not one for which can be shown credentials of its origin reaching up to the pretended date of its composition.”

7. Augustine says concerning the question arising from 2 Peter 3:16 : ‘Which are the things hard to understand in the Epistles of Paul?’ “Even in the times of the Apostles, certain persons, who did not understand some of Paul’s rather obscure (sub obscuras) sentences, alleged that he said, ‘Let us do evil, that good may come,’ because he had said, ‘that the law entered in, that sin might abound; and where sin abounded, there did grace much more abound,’ Romans 3:8; Romans 5:20.—When the Apostle Paul says that a man is justified by faith (per fidem) without the works of the law, he does not mean thereby, that, when a man has received and professed the faith, he may despise the works of righteousness; but that every one may know that he may be justified by faith, although works of the law have not gone before his faith. For works follow him that is justified, ‘Seguuntur justificatum, non precedunt justificatum.’—Since, however, the notion above mentioned had arisen at that time (viz, that works were not requisite), the other Apostolic Epistles of Peter, John, James and Jude, specially contend against that notion; in order to maintain earnestly, that faith without works does not profit. Indeed Paul himself has defined faith to be not any kind of faith by which man believes in God, but he defines true faith to be that healthful and evangelical faith, whose works proceed from love: ‘Faith which worketh by love,’ Galatians 5:6. And he asserts, that the faith which some men think sufficient for salvation is so worthless, that ‘If I have faith (he says) so as to remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing,’ 1 Corinthians 13:2; and doubtless that man’s life is good, where faithful love works, for he says, ‘the fulfilling of the law is love,’ Romans 13:10.—Evidently, therefore, for this reason St. Peter in his second Epistle, when he was exhorting to holiness of life, and was declaring that this world would pass away, and that new heavens and a new earth are looked for, which are to be assigned as dwellings to the righteous; and when he was admonishing them to consider what ought to be their life in this world, in order that they may be made meet for that future habitation; and being also aware that many ungodly men had taken occasion from certain rather obscure sentences of the Apostle Paul, to be reckless of living well, and to presume of salvation by faith, has noted that there are some things hard to be understood in St. Paul’s Epistles, which men wrested, as they did the other Scriptures, to their own destruction; whereas, in truth, that Apostle (St. Paul) entertained the same opinions as the rest of the Apostles concerning eternal salvation, and that it would not be given to any but to those who live well. Thus therefore Peter writes.” Augustine then quotes this chapter, 2 Peter 3:11-18.—Augustine, de fide et operibus, c22, ed. Bened6, p308.—M.]

8. Wordsworth, who cites the foregoing passage from Augustine, gives also the following useful table of the testimony of prophets and Apostles to the authority of Holy Scripture:

The prophet Malachi closes the Canon of the Old Testament by a solemn appeal “to the law of Moses, and to the statutes and judgments.” He says: “Remember them,” ( Malachi 4:4.)

The Apostle and Evangelist St. John closes the four gospels with a similar reference. “These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name,” John 20:31.

St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentile world, closes his Epistles with a testimony to the sufficiency and inspiration of Holy Scripture: “Abide thou in those things which thou hast learned, and wert assured of, knowing from whom thou didst learn them; and that from a child thou knowest the Holy Scriptures, which are the things that are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Jesus Christ. Every Scripture, being divinely inspired, is also profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, in order that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

St. Peter, here, in like manner closes his Epistles with a similar exhortation, and with a warning against perversion of Scripture.

St. Jude also closes the Catholic Epistles with a memento to his readers: “Remember ye the words spoken before by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Judges 17.

Lastly, the Apostle and Evangelist St. John closes the Apocalypse with a promise of blessing to those who keep its sayings, and a curse on those who take from it or add to it, Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:18-19.

Thus the duties of the Christian Church, as the Guardian of Holy Scripture, and the duties of every member of the Church, as bound to receive, to meditate upon, and to obey the written word of God, are solemnly inculcated by the farewell voices of prophets and Apostles.

Prophets and Apostles pass away to another and a better world. But the word of God, written by their instrumentality, endureth forever, 1 Peter 1:25.—M.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

There is a twofold day of the Lord, a day of His mercy in which He still causes sinners to be bidden to His Kingdom by the word (preached), 2 Corinthians 6:2, and a day of righteousness and wrath ( Acts 17:31), which has its various gradations and divisions.—What is necessary to watching and being prepared for the coming day of the Lord? Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; Matthew 24:38; Revelation 16:15.—We cannot be translated, into a state of peace, rest and happiness, unless we have been purified within by sanctificalion of the Spirit, and there arise a cessation of the reproaches and accusations in respect of the transgressions of which we were guilty.—If by carelessness or indiscretion we contract once more spots or blemishes, let us hasten to the opened fountain for all uncleanness, that we may be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.—If all things shall dissolve into fire, the idols of secure men will also perish. How ill is it with us, if we have nothing that is fire-proof!—The only means of escaping the terror of the coming of Christ, is a holy walk and godliness. The former relates to other men and earthly things, the latter to our conduct towards God.—Who does sufficiently realize the end of all things, which has come nigh, and which after the death of the body we shall quickly be made to meet?—According to Tertullian, the primitive Christians were wont to pray for a postponement of the end. The Church sings:

Hasten, Lord, the judgment-day,

Thy glorious countenance display;

Ei, lieber Herr, eil zum, Gericht,

Lass seh’n Dein herrlich Angesicht;

both sentiments are well founded.—The hope of that new world, wherein dwelleth perfect righteousness and constant joy, a chief means of consolation among all the trials and afflictions of this world.—It is one of the chief aims of believers to strive that hereafter they may be found without spot before the Lord.—Who will hereafter be found without spot?—The long-suffering of God our salvation and that of many others.—Beautiful example of Peter in his attitude towards Paul.—Harmony among the teachers of the Church is as necessary as the joint operation of the members of our body.—To honour the gifts of God in others, is to honour God Himself.—If the, forgery of a testament (will) which disposes of an earthly inheritance is a great crime, how much greater is the sin of those who forge and distort the Testament of the Eternal God.—The grace of stedfastness should be daily implored with earnest prayer.—The grace of God and the knowledge of Jesus Christ are indissolubly united.—Christ is duly glorified by us, if we acknowledge, praise and publish His benefits.

Starke:—That must be a fearful day; who does not tremble at the birth-pangs of the last time? But ye holy ones, rejoice, lift up your heads, for your redemption is nigh. Luke 21:28.—Men, be moderate in providing garments, in building palaces, in purchasing precious things. Every thing, even the most precious, must be consumed by fire in the last day, 1 Corinthians 7:30-31.—The constant recollection of the last day, in which Jesus Christ, the righteous Judges, will give to every man his due reward, is a powerful incentive to godliness, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.—When the heavens and the earth shall have passed away, believers will nevertheless come to a most delightful place, although we cannot now name it or describe its glory, 1 Thessalonians 4:17.—Those who do not pursue righteousness and holiness here, will not be preferred to the abode in the new heaven of glory, and still less be permitted to enjoy its pleasures, 1 Corinthians 6:9.—The patience and long-suffering of Christ is our preservation; for we owe it to His mercy that we are not consumed, Lamentations 3:22.—If there are dark passages in Holy Scripture, the darkness is not intrinsic, but extrinsic, that Isaiah, with respect to the reader and his weak understanding. But it is clear enough in the order of salvation and eternal life to silence all excuses, Psalm 119:105.—If Holy Scripture seems to be dark here and there, be not offended at it, and take care not to despise it; learn rather therefrom its sublimity and thy lowliness, but ever search more and more and persevere in prayer; thus thou shalt get more light: as for the rest, it will be reserved for the perfect knowledge thou shalt attain in heaven, 1 Corinthians 13:12.—A perverted understanding goes generally hand in hand with an evil will.—Try the spirits, whether they are of God; if not, hearken not to them, do not follow them, and let them not deceive thee, 1 Corinthians 6:9.—A strong fortress needs a vigilant and lion-hearted commander, else it will be lost.—Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12. Watch!—Those who are minded not to fall from their own stedfastness, must above all things grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, John 17:3.

Stier:—If we may sigh in our own case, Lord, come speedily; must we not, on the other hand, pray because of the ungodly, Lord, have patience. Examples: Abraham, Jonah.—Look at all the glory of this poor world with no other thought than the knowledge that all is destined to pass away!

Rieger:—True part of friendship among Christians, to warn one another.—All the notices of the Holy Scriptures concerning future things are given to us that we should be on our guard. Those who only use them to gratify their curiosity, deprive them all of their best properties of salt and light.—The multitude of the wicked and the diversity of the instruments whereby error is conveyed to men, constitute no small power of deception.—How many a possession, the objects of doubt, dispute and contradiction will be saved in the day of eternity!

Richter:—Ye that are fortified in genuine Scripture-truth and in the doctrine in Christ, are in the city of refuge, of which the Jewish city of refuge wag a type! Numbers 35.

Kapff:—In the great process of combustion the earth will experience the fate of ore which contains silver and gold. The gross, light and formless parts are consumed, the precious and light-giving parts are preserved.—The earth will be a great light-bearer corresponding to the light of the glorified resurrection bodies.—In the passages describing the glorification of the earth, it is difficult to determine how much belongs to the renovation of the earth during the millennial kingdom, and how much to the glorification of the new earth.—If the earthly is so unclean before the holiness of God that it must be burned with fire, how dare we suffer our spirit to be linked to the earthly ?

Lisco:—Of the salvation, which we may attain even in this life.—The inner completion of the citizens of the kingdom.—The salutation of departing Christians.—The renovation of the world at the coming of Christ.

[Sharp:—The reflection that our Lord, who came into the world to die for the sins of mankind, is by His resurrection made Judge of the world, doth not afford matter of greater terror to His enemies, than it does of comfort to His friends and followers. How must it revive the heart of every honest Christian, and encourage him to go on patiently and cheerfully in the service of his Master, notwithstanding the many frailties and infirmities under which he labours; notwithstanding the many slips and errors, that after his best endeavours do attend his course of life, to consider that Hebrews, who is to take his accounts at the last day, and to pass sentence upon him, is no other than his dear Redeemer! If we look upon the judgment to come only in this view, that then all the hidden works of darkness shall be brought to light; the secrets of all hearts be laid open; the actions of all mankind strictly examined and scanned; and sentence passed upon every one according to his works done in the flesh; if we have no other view of the last judgment than only this, it would not be very comfortable to the best of us, who are all sinners, and therefore cannot plead our innocence at that great tribunal. But when we consider farther, that it is our Saviour who shall then sit upon the throne; that it is our Saviour to whom God hath committed the judging of us; our Saviour who knows our frame, who is sensible of all the difficulties we have to conflict with, as having Himself in the days of His flesh had sufficient experience of them, “He being in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin;” and that this Saviour of ours will not judge us according to the rigour of the Law, but according to that gracious allowance of the Gospel; the consideration of this will prove an effectual antidote against all the fears, and disquietudes, and despondencies we may lie under upon account of our own unworthiness. Let none of us, therefore, that heartily own our Lord Jesus and His religion, and honestly endeavour to live up to the laws of His Gospel, fright ourselves with such thoughts as these: How much shall I, poor wretch, dare to appear before the face of my Judge at the last day: I, who have so many sins to answer for? Let us but go on in the good course we are in: let us but hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, and daily apply to the throne of grace for strength and assistance against our corruptions; and to our prayers let us add our sincere endeavours to increase in virtue, and the longer we live still to grow better; and then I dare say, whatever sins we may have been guilty of, we shall not need to have any apprehension, or fear our condition on account of them, when we come to die: but we may with confidence appear before the tribunal of our Lord; and expect our part in that comfortable sentence, which He will at the last day pronounce to all His true disciples and followers: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” Matthew 25:34.—M.]

[Cf. on 2 Peter 3:10. H. Blair: On the dissolution of the world. Sermons, III.

2 Peter 3:10-14. C. Simeon: The day of judgment. Works, XX, 349.

2 Peter 3:11. John Owen: Providential changes an argument for universal holiness 4 Serm. Works XVI, 220. Holiness urged from the liability of all things to dissolution. Works, (Goold), XVII, 524.

2 Peter 3:13. Thomas Chalmers: The new heavens and the new earth. Works, VII, 280.

2 Peter 3:15-16. W. Paley: Caution recommended in the use and application of Scripture language. Visit. Serm. Serm. and Tracts, I.

Chr. Wordsworth: Hulsean Lecture for1847.

W. Barrow: On the mysterious doctrines of Christianity. Bampton Lecture, 221; Serm, I, 173.

C. Benson: Origin of Scripture difficulties1. Existence of Scripture difficulties vindicated26. Objections to the existence of difficulties in the Scriptures as an inspired work considered47. The existence of difficulties in Scripture not incompatible with their object as a religiously instructive work69. Classification of Scripture difficulties156. Minor difficulties in Genesis. Recapitulation and conclusion. Hulsean Lecture for1822, 399.

T. Chevallier: The use of historical types authorized by Scripture; the advantages attending an inquiry into them; the danger of abuse, and rules of interpretation. Hulsean Lecture for182635.

2 Peter 3:18. Jeremy Taylor: Of growth in grace, with its proper instruments and signs 2 Sermons.—M.]

Footnotes:

FN#12 - omitted in B. C.; inserted in Rec. with A. K. L, al.—M.]

FN#13 - ἐν νυκτί omitted by Tischen. and al. [also in A. B, Sin.: al, Vulg, Syr, Copt, Arm, al.; inserted in C. K. L, Rec, Syr.—M.]

FN#14 - Omit οἱ before οὐρανοὶ, Sin, K. L, al.—Sin. and Cod. Colbert, insert μὲν after οὐρανοὶ.—M.]

FN#15 - Lachmann reads λυθήσεται; Tisch. with A. G. K. prefers λυθήσονται [Sin, B.C, read λυθήσεται.—M.]

FN#16 - Sin. B. L, al, read εὑρεθήσεται for κατακαήσεται.—M.]

[German: “As a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a crashing roar, but the elements shall be dissolved in fire, and the earth and the works in it, shall be burned up.”

Translate: “As a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a rushing noise, but the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works in it shall be burned up.”—Dr. Lillie calls attention to the onomatopoeia in ῥοιζηδόν which most versions here sought to preserve. The word rushing, like the German ‘Geræusch’ (Stier) resembles ῥοιζηδόν most.—In λυθήσονται I have retained the Passive force with Vulg, Syr, de Wette, Alford and Lillie.—M.]

FN#17 - 2 Peter 3:11. Tisch, with B. C, and many other authorities, reads οὓτως for οὖν; [οὖν, A. K. L, Vulg, al.—M.]

FN#18 - ἡμᾶς, Sin.*—omits ὑμᾶς B.—M.]

[German: “Since then all these things are being dissolved, as what sort of persons ought ye to evidence yourselves in all manner of holy walk and godliness?”

Translate: “All these things being thus to be dissolved (Alford) what manner. ….”—M.]

FN#19 - Sin. omits καὶ σπεύδοντ; but Tisch. marks the reading with *.—M.]

[German: “Expecting and hastening (so Alford, Bloomf, de Wette, Lillie) the coming of the day of God, for the sake of which (παρουσίαν) the heavens being on fire, shall dissolve (themselves), and the elements shall melt away with fervent heat.”

FN#20 - 2 Peter 3:12. Translate: “.…… by reason of which (ἡμέραν understood, Alford), the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall be melted with a fervent heat (τακήσεται C. Vulg, Lachm, or retaining τήκεται as the present of destiny, render ‘are to be melted.’)”—M.]

FN#21 - The German dagegen, and nevertheless of E. V. objectionable on account of their strong adversative force and the emphasis they give to ἡμεῖς; better translate ‘but’ with most of the foreign versions, Alf, Hammond, Doddridge, Lillie.—M.]

FN#22 - A. Lachm. read καὶ τὰ ἐπαγγελμάτα αὐτοῦ.—[Sin. τὰ ἐπεγγαλμάτα.—M.]

FN#23 - Insert καινὴν before γῆν A. Vulg, al.—κενήν γῆν Sin.—M.]

[German: “Wherefore, beloved, expecting these things, be diligent to be found spotless and blameless before Him in peace.”—M.]

FN#24 - Rec. has αὐτῷ before δοθεῖσαν with L.; δοθεῖσαν αὐτῷ, A. B. C. K, Sin, al.—M.]

German: “Account your salvation.” Better in strict conformity to the Greek “And the longsuffering of our Lord account salvation———wrote unto you.”—M.]

FN#25 - ταῖς before ἐπιστολαῖς omitted in A. B. C. K, al, Vulg,. Syr, Alf.—M.], Lachm. and Tisch.

FN#26 - Lachmann reads αἶς referring to ἐπιστολαῖς; Tischend, with A. G. K. prefers the reading οἶς. So de Wette. [ἐν αἶς, A. B, Sin.—M.]

FN#27 - German: “As he also does in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things, among which are some things difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable distort, as also the other Scriptures to their own perdition.”—M.]

FN#28 - German: “Ye, therefore, beloved, knowing it before, beware, lest being led away together with the error of the lawless, ye fall from your own stedfastness.”—M.]

FN#29 - German: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Translate:—. “To Him the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”—M.]

Subscription: πετρου Β, A. B.Sin.; επιστολη πετρου ά και β́ Cod. Colbert.;—τουαγιου αποστολου πετρου επιστολη [δευτερα. L, al.; πετρου καθολικη. C.—M.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Peter 3:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/2-peter-3.html. 1857-84.

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