Verse Study: 2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 

Let us start by looking at the first two verses in 2 Peter 3.

Beloved, this is now the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of a reminder, to remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” 2 Peter 3:1-2.

Peter is calling on the disciples to remember the words spoken by the prophets of old, as well as by Jesus Christ during His time here. One example is Daniel, where it is written,

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. And those who have insight will shine like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:1-3.

And a second one is found in Zechariah.

On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west forming a very large valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and the other half toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4.

Both of the above verses are quotes from Old Testament prophets. Then in the first chapter of Acts, two angels came and spoke to the disciples regarding Jesus’ ascension.

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were watching, and a cloud took Him up, out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, then behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, and they said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11.

Now, moving on to the next three verses, Peter tells them that in these last days, there will be many who will mock the true believers.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7.

What I find most interesting is that we are seeing this today, which shows we are in the final days. But to be honest, there have always been people calling out that they see no proof of Jesus and His second coming, believing either there is no God at all and thus everything has always existed as stated by many so-called scientists, or they believe in false gods who, in their beliefs, had nothing to do with creation as it actually happened. And both these groups, either internally or externally, mock us for believing such a ‘ridiculous’ concept. Now by believing these false ideas, they refuse to accept the idea of everything being created by an infinite God, and the world back in the time of Noah being destroyed by a worldwide flood of water. Therefore, they do not accept what is mentioned in verse seven, that the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Now we came to verse 8.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” 2 Peter 3:8.

What is basically being said here is that what seems like forever in our view is but a short time in God’s view, just as an hour may seem to be an eternity for a child but a moment to an adult. We see this same image in the Book or Psalms.

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or like a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4.

God is infinite and we are finite. The Lord is not subject to time as we are. He regards a thousand years the way we might think of a 24-hour period or a single watch during the night. The “watch” refers to a shift covered by a guard. There were three nighttime watches/shifts, each one being four hours. During the night, most people did not notice the guard keeping watch because they were asleep. Similarly, a thousand years pass almost like they didn’t happen when compared to eternity.

Next, we come to our focus verse.

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

We see here that the only reason God has not yet raptured His people is His patience. He does not desire anyone to perish but that all would repent. This is the time God has given all people to get right with Him.

In the days of Noah, God said,

My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3.

There comes a time when even God’s patience with man will be ended. That day where the opportunity for grace is over and the unrepentant will face the awesome wrath of God. The world has heard this, and thus the scoffers will say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” These unrepentant people will use this question to renounce the idea of Jesus Christ coming here, also known as the  rapture of the church. God isn’t slack concerning the promise to come and take us to be with Him. He’s just patient, not wanting any to perish, but that all would repent and give themselves to God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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