Study 2 THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING
All unfulfilled prophecy in the Word of God is bound up with the personal, bodily and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in this study we shall consider the urgent question asked in 2 Peter 3:3-4. This is the question of the scoffer, but we shall ask it earnestly and reverently, and as we do so we shall be impressed with the weight of testimony which scripture gives to the certainty of our Lord’s second coming. It will be well, however, for us to look at the context in which this question is found. In 2 Peter 3:3-4, we read of something we are to know and be sure about, and it is something which relates particularly to the last days, the closing days of the dispensation of grace, the period immediately prior to the Lord’s return. We are to expect that there will be scoffers in the last days. Why? Because everyone who scoffs at the glorious truth of the return of Christ is fulfilling this prophecy! Peter tells us exactly what the scoffers say, but let us ask this question: “Where is the promise of His coming?” and supply seven answers to it.
1.The Promise of His Coming is found in the Old Testament.
There are 39 books included in the Old Testament: these can be divided into the five books of Moses, called the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy); twelve historical books (Joshua to Esther); six books of poetry (Job to Song of Solomon and Lamentations); and the sixteen books of the major and minor prophets (Isaiah to Malachi). Concerning all these books we read - 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21, and in each of these five groups we find the promise of His coming. Here are a few selected examples:-
Genesis 3:15: “You will strike his heel” refers to the first advent, and this was fulfilled at Calvary, where our Lord Jesus was crucified for us. “He” (the seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus) “will crush your head” refers to the second advent and to our Lord’s final overthrow of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 20:1-3).
Genesis 5:24: Compare Hebrews 11:5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Genesis, chaps. 22, 23 and 24: Abraham (a type of God the Father); Eliezer, Abraham’s servant (a type of the Holy Spirit); Isaac (a type of the Lord Jesus); and Rebekah (a type of the Church, the Bride).
Genesis 41:45: Joseph (a type of Christ) during his rejection took a Gentile bride (compare Genesis 42:8).
Genesis 49:10: No comment needed!
1 Samuel 16:11: A picture of “Great David’s greater Son”.
2 Kings 2:11: Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Job 19:25: Compare Zechariah 14:4 and Acts 1:11.
Psalms 22,23 and 24: Psalm 22 was prophetic of His death; Psalm 23 is true of the believer now; Psalm 24 awaits fulfilment.
The prophecies of Isaiah to Malachi are full of the promise of His coming. These prophecies were not fulfilled at His first advent; they await fulfilment when He comes again - compare Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19. How full the Old Testament is of His second coming!
2. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Four Gospels.
In the four Gospels we have the inspired and authoritative record of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; over and over again He spoke of His second coming. For example, look up the following:-
Matthew: 16:21,27; 24:3,27,35,36,37 and 44; and 25:1-13.
Luke: 19:11-27 and 21:25-28.
John: 14:1-3 and 21:21-22.
Thus, in many of the clear statements made by our Saviour, as well as in many of His parables, we have the promise of His coming.
3. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Acts of the Apostles.
There are two particularly important references:-
Acts 1:9-11. The testimony of the angels is very important because their prophecies were right in relation to His birth (Luke 1:28-33; 2:8-14), and to His resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8).
Acts 15:14-17. Verse 14 is what God is doing today. Verses 16 and 17 await fulfilment.
4. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Epistles of Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude.
Paul: 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:51-52; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Titus 2:11-13 and Hebrews 9:24-28.
James: James 5:7-8
Peter: 1 Peter 1:10-11; 5:4 and 2 Peter 3:3-4.
John: 1 John 2:28 and 3:1-2.
Jude: Jude 14.
5. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Apocalypse.
The Book of Revelation does not make sense if you take from it the promise of His personal return. The whole message of the Book is summed up in Revelation 1:7 and 22:7,12 and 20.
6. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Lord’s Supper.
Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, and notice the last three words. Whenever we take the bread and the wine we are reminded of the promise of His coming.
7. The Promise of His Coming is found in the heart of every true Believer.
Please look up and read Revelation 19:10. What is “the testimony of Jesus” which we, as believers, have within us? In this particular connection, it is the promise of His coming again. The Holy Spirit places in our hearts the assurance and the expectation of His near return, and it causes us to cry out, “Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” - look up Revelation 22:20.