2 Peter 3 Fulfilled on WordPress

I normally write about how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament, but something amazing happened today. Most Christians are familiar with Peter’s words from 2 Peter 3:4-11, but today I found out that people actually, and unironically, make the argument that Peter said they would make against the return of Christ. Here is the prophecy, followed by its fulfillment:

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

2 Peter 3:4

Given that zero in a billion people have been right so far, you think the Christian would reflect on that a bit and start asking questions. Questions like “since the odds for Jesus coming in my lifetime diminish with each passing year, should I start living like he won’t come and try and be a better person?” Or maybe “Why do I trust people that have been so wrong so many times?” Or something like “Should we care for our environment, because we might be here for a while longer?” Or possibly even “Is this religion wrong?”

Yes, your religion is wrong. And over a billion dead people can attest to that.

The Spartan Atheist, A Billion Dead People

Peter responds to this argument in four ways. Hover over the Bible citations in each point to read his words.

1. Prophets are more trustworthy than scoffers (2 Peter 3:1–3).

The prophets “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), and Peter is an eyewitness that what they promised has begun to be fulfilled (2 Peter 1:16–19).

Scoffers, on the other hand, are carried along by their sinful desires, defensively justifying their rebellion against God. They are not afraid to blaspheme what they don’t understand (2 Peter 2:12). They say exactly what the Bible says scoffers will say, then they scoff at the Bible:

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed.”

2. We are like the generations before the flood (2 Peter 3:5–7).

God’s word is powerful enough to create the world, and to destroy it. 1656 years passed between Adam’s sin and the cataclysmic judgment of the flood. Doubtless, scoffers mocked the idea that they would be punished for their sin. But 120 years before the flood, the word of God made the judgment sure (Genesis 6:3–8). Peter says that in the same way, Jesus will surely return to judge the world, because God has spoken.

3. We are experiencing God’s incredible patience (2 Peter 3:8–9).

The reason that the coming of Jesus might be delayed for thousands of years is the unfathomable patience of God. God has endured mockery about this for almost 2000 years, and to Him it felt like a couple of days.

The reason that God is willing to tolerate so much blasphemy for so long is that He is extending mecy to a world that hates him. He is showing patience toward a specific group of people, “you” (2 Peter 3:9). In the previous verse, Peter calls this group “beloved” (2 Peter 3:8). The beloved group he is addressing is the same group he addressed in his previous letter (2 Peter 3:1), the elect exiles (1 Peter 1:1). This is important to notice because if God is not willing for any human to perish, then delaying Jesus’ coming is counter-productive, as thousands of people perish every day. What Peter means is that God is not willing for any of His elect to perish; they must all come to repentance before Jesus returns. This will happen by the word of God that creates and destroys, kills and makes alive.

So the word of God will surely bring judgment, but this is delayed as the word of God brings salvation to the ends of the earth. Proud and rebellious scoffers who give their allegiance to their Creator are being welcomed into His kingdom as sons.

4. The promise of judgment inspires righteousness (2 Peter 3:10–13).

According to The Spartan Atheist, disbelieving in Jesus’ return leads to increased morality. I’m not sure what the logic behind that is, but Peter has good reasons to see it the opposite way.

First, the threat that our evil works will be exposed and judged is a warning against sin. The antidote to hypocrisy is a healthy fear of the God who sees what is done in secret.

Second, the kingdom that we look forward to is where righteousness dwells. As we look forward to this kingdom, we desire for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. We do not destroy the earth because God is going to destroy it eventually; we take care of it as God told us to in the beginning, and as we will continue to do for eternity in the new Earth.

31 thoughts on “2 Peter 3 Fulfilled on WordPress

    1. jacobhalvorson Post author

      I don’t believe that the dead Christians were wrong. The God who created the world by His word, who promised that Jesus would come, and who promised that his gospel of salvation would reach the ends of the earth, also promised that Jesus will raise His people from the dead when he returns, so we can all witness His return (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).

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      1. jacobhalvorson Post author

        You are correct that anyone who thought Jesus would return in his lifetime was wrong about that. And as you know, Jesus told us that know one knows the day or hour he will return. He prepared us to wait for a long time (Matthew 25:1-13).

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      2. thespartanatheist

        Okay. I’m glad we agree on that. And since thousands and thousands of those billion people were preachers, indeed the majority of them that made the predictions, we can safely say that those preachers were wrong, right?

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      3. jacobhalvorson Post author

        In my experience, MOST preachers make those predictions with humility, saying “I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus came back in our lifetime.” There are a notable few, often cult leaders, that confidently claim to know when Jesus is coming back, and those people should be ignored.

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      4. thespartanatheist

        I don’t really care if they make them humbly or with authority. It is clear that they have no more idea than anyone else if or when anything will happen resulting in the end of the world, right?

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      5. jacobhalvorson Post author

        Yes and no. As 2 Peter 3 says, we trust the word of God, which was confirmed by the first coming of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit. But the word of God warns us against thinking we know when Jesus is returning. It also warns us that he might be delayed, and that we are to continue to live righteous lives while we wait (Matthew 24:48-51).

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      6. thespartanatheist

        Really? Jacob, you are making this too easy for me. Jesus predicted the end of the world during that generation (Matthew 24:34), and Paul said the time was so short, it isn’t worth getting married (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

        So Jesus and Paul are not to be trusted.

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      7. jacobhalvorson Post author

        I grant that Matthew 24:34 is hard to understand, and Christians disagree about exactly what it means, but Matthew 24 as a whole doesn’t argue that Jesus would definitely be back in the next 40 years. He begins by saying that false Christs, wars, famine, and earthquakes would happen, and they would NOT indicate that the end had come (Matt 24:3-8). Rather, his gospel would spread to the ends of the earth before the end (Matt 24:14). He ends with a warning that we should not sin if he is delayed in coming back (Matt 24:48-51).
        The argument from 1 Corinthians is new to me, and it’s a good point. It should be noted that Paul also paradoxically says that everyone should get married (1 Corinthians 7:2). His point here is that the last days have begun with the first coming of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit, so this world is being replaced by the eternal kingdom of God. Marriage brings worldly troubles (1 Corinthians 7:28) that are not necessary because this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31). But when Paul discusses the return of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15, he numbers himself among those who would have no hope if they were not going to be raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:32). He doesn’t know when Jesus is coming, but he knows that this world is passing away, and that he will live forever in Jesus’ kingdom.

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      8. thespartanatheist

        No, you are wrong. Jesus lists a whole host of things, including the stars falling from the sky, all happening before “this generation” passes away. The prediction is clear. Stars fall, before his contemporaries are all dead.

        They are part of the billions of dead. Jesus was a false prophet.

        And Paul DOES concede to marriage, but he is clear why. He even gives us a sort of “wrap up” of the entire 7th chapter. 29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

        Paul is a false prophet.

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      9. jacobhalvorson Post author

        Since the next words out of Jesus’ mouth were about how he didn’t know when he was coming back, it’s not fair to interpret his words as if he did. This is a hard passage to interpret, but there are a few options. Some think Jesus is just talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but I think “this generation” is the generation that sees the signs he is talking about.

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      10. thespartanatheist

        Jacob, he made a prediction. Before “this generation” passes away. That’s not a specific moment, but it is a mark on the wall we can verify. Stars would fall before everyone living at that time died. It’s about as solid a prediction as anything found anywhere in the bible at all. Hell, your fellow Christians “find” prophesies out of less information than that.

        Jesus, as written in the bible, is a false prophet. Period.

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      11. jacobhalvorson Post author

        Maybe you misunderstood me. The flow of thought in Matt 24:32-34 is:
        1. When a fig tree has leaves, you know summer is near. (verse 32).
        2. Likewise, when you see, you know the return of Jesus is near.
        3. Therefore, when you see these signs, then Jesus will return in your generation.

        But a lot of the chapter is about false signs of the end that will deceive people into thinking the end is near. There is a lot that has to happen before the end, including the spread of the gospel to all nations (Matthew 24:14).

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      12. thespartanatheist

        Yeah, war and rumors of war. Don’t be worried by those. But when the stars fall, you will know the end is near, and it will happen before this generation passes away.

        That’s what Jesus said. He is a false prophet.

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      13. jacobhalvorson Post author

        The meaning of “this generation” here is debated among Christians, and you’ve convinced me that I should spend more time looking into what Jesus meant by it.

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      14. thespartanatheist

        I applaud the idea of looking into it. Naturally, this specific wording has caused generations of Christians to worry greatly, because it would seem (and is) a false prophesy.

        Don’t forget, the bible as not entirely inerrant is also an option. And probably the correct one.

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      15. thespartanatheist

        No, I said nothing of the sort. I said they believed the world would end. But it had nothing to do with the “this generation” prediction. Indeed, it is exactly because of this failed prophesy that preachers have spent the last 1900 years trying to nail down the end time.

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      16. jacobhalvorson Post author

        I’m starting to think you’re right about “this generation;” Jesus was talking about the temple being destroyed within a generation. But I also notice that “these things” certainly does not include Jesus’ return in Matt 24:33. So the question just becomes what Jesus meant by “he is near, at the very gates.” This is similar to a lot of New Testament texts, such as how he says “I am coming soon” at the end of Revelation. 2 Peter 3 is important because it reminds us that “soon” from God’s perspective might feel like a long time from our perspective.
        So Jesus is saying “I am coming soon, and the proof is the signs you will see in this generation when the temple is destroyed.”

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      17. jacobhalvorson Post author

        More evidence that “these things” are separate from Jesus’ return is that they are distinct from one another in the question Jesus was answering, Matt 24:3.

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  1. clubschadenfreude

    since all prophets have failed, it is quite a lie to claim that prophets are more “trustworthy” than scoffers.

    andit’s always so precious when a Christian tries “Look the bible authors say we’d be made fun of so that’s a prophecy”. No dears, that is a report of what was going on even back then. Baseless claims will always have scoffers.

    There was no magic 28,000 + foot deep flood and I do love how flood proponents and creationists can’t even convince each other of their claims on how that idiocy worked.

    the claim that this god is “patient” is a great lie to repeat when it constantly fails to come back as some Christians lie about. The whole thousand years thing is wonderful.

    LEt’s take a look at it. Jesus Christ claimed he would return in a generation to be magic king. A generation is usually considered between 20-40 years. If we take 20 years, and assume that for this god every day in these 2 decades would be a thousand years, we have 7,300,000 years you have to wait until ol’ JC gets back.

    that’s what happens when you read a book of fairy tales written by ignorant humans.

    in that christians can’t agree on what morals their god wants, reading the bible rather obviously doesn’t make any one more moral

    the petrine letters are quite a pile of nonsense. The worst is the lie that slaves should not seek their freedom.

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    1. jacobhalvorson Post author

      I grant that Matthew 24:34 is hard to understand, and Christians disagree about exactly what it means, but Matthew 24 as a whole doesn’t argue that Jesus would definitely be back in the next 40 years. He begins by saying that false Christs, wars, famine, and earthquakes would happen, and they would NOT indicate that the end had come (Matt 24:3-8). Rather, his gospel would spread to the ends of the earth before the end (Matt 24:14). He ends with a warning that we should not sin if he is delayed in coming back (Matt 24:48-51).

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      1. clubschadenfreude

        Yep, Christians disagree with what Matthew 24 means among many, many other things.

        Unsurprisingly, as the decades go by, the Christian claims of a return “soon” fade.

        We have in Matthew 24 claims of events that will happen before the generation standing in front of Christ dies e.g. the “signs of the end of the age”, “the persecutions foretold”, “the desolating sacrilege”, “the coming of the Son of Man”. IT’s quite clear, though Chrisitans realize the problem if they take it as written. They keep changing the meaning of what those four things “really” mean. That’s been going on for 2000+ years.

        “32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

        Christians also have no idea waht they want “spread the ends of the earth” to mean either. That’s one of those lovely excuses to try to put off when this god will get around to returning.

        Now, how is an omnipotent being “delayed”, Jacob? This nonsense is great for a cult leader to say to keep his followers in line out of fear. But when the threat never comes to pass, then the lie is revealed.

        45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

        I grew up in the 70s where we saw lots of Christians claiming the end times had come. They made the same claims as you and they were liars. The “Late Great Planet Earth” was one such failure.

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      2. jacobhalvorson Post author

        In my OP I explained that Jesus is “delayed” by the plan of God to save all of His elect. Not that Jesus tried to come back within 40 years but didn’t get around to it. My point in the comment is that Jesus warns that it could be, from a human perspective, a long time before he comes back. That is why in Matthew 25:1-13, ALL of the virgins fall asleep before the bridegroom comes back. Likewise, in church history, most Christians have died before Jesus returned.

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      3. clubschadenfreude

        yes, Jacob, you offered the same excuse that Christians have used for the last 2000+ years.

        I’m sure that in another 2000+ years, there will probably be a few Christians around still insisting that JC will return but he’s “delayed” again.

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