devotion 10-31-14

Happy Halloween!Remember, whatever other roots Halloween may have had, it began as "All Hallows Eve" – the eve of the day in which we honor "All Saints". It is a laughing at death, mocking the one who thinks he wins – don’t let the nay-sayers claim that it is "devil worship"! It began as a Christian holiday! So – why not have fun, and let the children have fun!!

2Peter 3:1 – 13

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour spoken through your apostles. 3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died,* all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’ 5They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the godless.

8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,* not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.*

11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening* the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

The author now moves on with his purpose for writing – to remind the readers of the faith they have learned from the prophets and the apostles. He says that the scoffers are bound to come, asking why this time of Christ’s return has not happened. This is an issue the early church struggled with – and its discussion in this letter is further evidence that it comes from a time much later than Peter could have written. In Paul’s early letters we see that expectation of the imminent return of Christ – he even advises people not to marry because Christ will be returning soon; but then, in his later letters, he begins to say, wait for Christ’s return, but do things – work, live in harmony with one another – in the meanwhile. Here, it seems the author is saying it has indeed been longer than they had expected to wait, and the mockers are reminding them of that, but that they must remember all will come in God’s time, not our own.

For, he says, to God one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. In fact, God is not slow in keeping his promise – notice, the return of Christ for these Christians is not a bad thing, but a promised good thing – but is mercifully giving time for more to come to know his love. God does not will that any should perish. Even from one whose diatribe was so vicious, we see the recognition of God’s love and mercy for all – God does not will that any would be lost!

Now, this writer does predict a total annihilation of creation, predicting that everything would be dissolved. This is in Contrast to Paul’s words in Romans 8:19 – 21, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope the the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God.” Thus, you see, there are two view-points of “end times” or of the time of Christ’s return, even in the writers of the New Testament. Still, even this author says, “in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth.” Let’s leave it there!

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