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Life-Study of 2 Peterby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-2046-6
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

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LIFE-STUDY OF SECOND PETER

MESSAGE TWELVE

THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT

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Scripture Reading 2 Pet. 3:10-12

In the books of 1 and 2 Peter only two chapters are crucial concerning the divine life. The first one and a half chapters of 1 Peter and the first half of chapter one of 2 Peter are important in this regard. The remainder of the material in these Epistles is related to God’s government.

In this message we shall consider 3:10-12, where Peter speaks concerning God’s judgment on the heavens and the earth. This, of course, is part of God’s governmental dealings. Although these verses are not directly related to the growth in life, they may help us to pursue the growth in life. Also, it will be helpful for us to understand properly what Peter has written in these verses.

THE DAY OF THE LORD COMING AS A THIEF

In 3:10 Peter said, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements burning with intense heat will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.” The day of the Lord will come mostly in the sense of judgment (1 Thes. 5:2) for God’s government. Peter’s word about the day of the Lord is mainly a warning. In the New Testament the day of the Lord is mentioned mainly in relation to the Lord’s judgment (1 Cor. 1:8; 3:13; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; 2 Tim. 4:8). The day of the Lord for His judgment (1 Thes. 5:3-4) will come before the millennium (Rev. 18:1; 19:11; 20:4-6).

In the day of the Lord the heavens will pass away with a roar, the elements will be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. This will take place after the millennium (Rev. 20:7, 11). Peter’s word regarding the day of the Lord in verse 10 indicates that again he passes over the one thousand years of the millennium, just as he did earlier in this chapter when he spoke of the Lord’s coming in verse 4 and the judgment of the white throne in verse 7. The word “roar” indicates a rushing sound or noise. This may be a proclamation of a great change in the universe from the old to the new. The “elements” here are the physical elements of which the heavens are composed.

We may compare the words “dissolved” and “burned up” in this verse with “roll up” and “changed” in Hebrews 1:12, “fled away” and “no place found for them” in Revelation 20:11, and “passed away” in Revelation 21:1. The “burning with intense heat” to dissolve the heavens and the earth is the procedure God will use to roll up the heavens and the earth and put them away so that they may be changed from the old to the new (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). This will be God’s final and consummate dealing with His creation in His government. All the material things in God’s final dealing will pass away, but His eternal word will abide forever (Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:25). The word of His prophecy will remain and be fulfilled at His appointed time for the accomplishment of His eternal will, regardless of the changes that occur in the physical universe.

In 3:10 “works” may include both God’s works of nature and man’s works of art.

We have pointed out that the term “the day of the Lord” mainly signifies judgment. Hence, the day of the Lord equals the judgment of the Lord. This day of judgment will come as a thief in the night.

Peter says in verse 10 that in the day of the Lord the heavens will pass away. As in 3:7, Peter passes over the millennium because he is dealing here with God’s governmental judgment. The millennium will not be for this purpose in God’s dispensation.

If we have a thorough study of both the Old and New Testaments, we shall see that the day of the Lord will probably last about seven years. It is nearly the same as the last week of the seventy weeks spoken of in Daniel 9:24-27. The first sixty-nine weeks, a period of four hundred eighty-three years, ended when the Lord Jesus was crucified, when He, the Messiah, was “cut off.” There is now a gap between the sixty-ninth week and the beginning of the seventieth week. We are not told in the Bible how long this interval will be. But we do know that after this interval, there will be a period of seven years, which will be the seventieth week, before the millennium. The coming of the Lord will take place during these years.


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