Long before modern media, Peter predicted the advent of revisionism and false reporting.
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: (2 Peter 3:1)
At the start of the final chapter, Peter reminds his readers the purpose of his second epistle. It is to remind them of the facts, to bring them to remembrance. Why is this so important? Because we live in a world that wants us to forget: forget Who God is; forget what He has said; forget His truth. The best way to combat this kind of forgetfulness is to actively rehearse in our hearts and minds what the Bible says is true, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and [Savior]” (2 Peter 3:2).
The devil’s methods have not changed. In the Garden he asked a question: “Yea, hath God said?” It was a direct questioning of God’s authority. In Peter’s day, the devil also used a question: “Where is the promise of His coming?” That’s still a question today and it’s a challenge to the reliability of God’s promises. If we can be made to question God’s promises, we can be made to question everything else we know about God, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden.
What makes the question so powerful is that it is not asked out of blind ignorance. It comes from somewhere far more dangerous. It comes from willful ignorance: “For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (2 Peter 3:5). It isn’t that they don’t know the facts. They choose to reject them because the facts do not fit their narrative. What facts are they rejecting? One of them is the Flood. Why attack that? Because the biblical account of the Flood is preposterous – unless you trust in the fact that God is Who He says He is and that His Word is true. A flood that covered everything over the whole globe? Impossible! Unless you know the God Who does the impossible (Matthew 19:26). The attack on the biblical fact of the Flood is pivotal because if you can undermine that account, you can bring all the other biblical accounts into question.
Starting from their false premise – the Flood never happened – the scoffers, mockers and naysayers continue on to false conclusions: “since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4b). From false premise, to false conclusion they graduate to false assumptions about God: He is unreliable because His Word is unreliable. Therefore, His promises and His demands for righteousness are null and void. Having already reminded us in his first epistle that the Flood did indeed happen, Peter does not reiterate it here. Instead, he reminds us of God’s faithfulness, His timetable and His mercy:
2 Peter 3:8-9
(8) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
(9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
“A thousand years as one day.” An eternal Being, unencumbered by the restraints of time, a thousand years is as one day (and vice versa) for our God. His ways are above our ways and His thoughts above ours, so we cannot interpret His actions on the basis of our finite understanding. It is one of the reasons He gives us His Word, so we can understand – at least a little – how God operates.
“The Lord is not slack.” With His timetable not being in sync with ours, it is easy to believe that the Lord is slack concerning His promises because they don’t seem to come to pass as quickly as we’d like. Human nature being what it is, we might find ourselves asking the same question as the naysayers: “Yes…where is the promise of His coming?” Noah had to wait over 100 years before the Flood finally arrived. During that time there were probably many who questioned his faith and his sanity. Maybe Noah himself wondered. We don’t see those doubts in Scripture. What we do see is that Noah held fast to God’s promise even when it was unpopular and seemingly untenable. “Seriously, Noah? A global flood?”
“Not willing that any should perish.” This statement includes the scoffers and the mockers, God’s enemies. As believers, we must remember this because we can become belligerent in our tenacity and forget to speak the truth in love. It is only by God’s grace that we even know Him and before we came to know God, we too were His enemies. God loved us to Himself (Romans 2:4). We need to love others to Him as well – even if they are hostile to us now.
“There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). Peter says we should accept this as a fact of life and be prepared for it by knowing what it is we believe and standing by it faithfully and lovingly.
[Picture taken by me at the Ark Encounter]