Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Letters Of A Changed Man: A Study Of 1st and 2nd Peter. Day 27, The Day Of The Lord, Part One

Peter provides us with a short but vivid description of "the day of the Lord". This term is synonymous with what is also called "judgment day" and "the second coming of Christ". It is not to be confused with what is commonly called the "rapture of the church" (from the Latin "rapio" which means to be "caught up"). Peter is going to tell us that the day of the Lord will come as suddenly and unexpectedly as a thief in the night, but we have to keep in mind that the Bridegroom will not come for His bride (the church) in this terrifying manner. In context we see that Peter has been talking for several days about the judgment of the false prophets and the judgment of those who have rejected the Lord. So his dire warning is for unbelievers, not for believers. As we talked about earlier in our study of Peter's letters, most mainstream scholars hold to a pre-Tribulation removal of the church from the world, and they back up this belief with the promise of the Lord Jesus to the church that He would "keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world". (Revelation 3:10)

As we proceed we must keep in mind that the terrifying picture Peter paints today is for those upon whom the wrath of God is going to fall, not for those who belong to Him. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare." (2 Peter 3:10) Who is it that should fear their deeds being laid bare to the eyes of a holy God? Those whose deeds are evil. We who are redeemed by the Lord have also had our deeds laid bare, but we laid them bare willingly in order to receive forgiveness for them. As the Apostle Paul said to his friend Timothy, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going into judgment; and some men they follow after." (1 Timothy 5:24) We want to be of the group whose sins are open beforehand, so that when we stand before God He will say, "Your sins have been paid for by the sacrificial blood of My Son. They have already been dealt with. My Son bore the penalty in your place." We do not want to be of the group who stands before God with their sins uncovered and unredeemed, those to whom God will say, "You will bear the penalty yourself. You rejected the only acceptable form of redemption. You could have had your guilt transferred to the Lamb of God, but instead you chose to retain it."

The Lord is going to remake the earth. Peter describes a violent cataclysm which evokes images of boiling lava and a complete upheaval of the world. In Revelation 21:1 we find that the earth will be remade into a fresh Eden-like state for the redeemed of the Lord to inhabit. It would appear from Peter's words that this cleansing will be accomplished by fire; whether that fire is literal or symbolic I can't say for sure. Scholars are still debating the issue, but when reading the book of Revelation we can clearly see that a great deal of natural disasters will occur in the final days before "the day of the Lord" comes. Some years back we did an in-depth study on the blog of the book of Revelation and as we move through the New Testament I plan for us to revisit it. I think it is a book that has been greatly misused and misunderstood, so together we will be able to clear up the misconceptions that have occurred by popular culture's handling of the book.

Tomorrow we will conclude our look at the day of the Lord in Peter's second letter and we will be comforted by his assurance that the redeemed need not fear fiery judgment.

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