Study 8 WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING?
THE SECOND LETTER OF PETER
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 2 Peter 3: 3-8
All unfulfilled prophecy in God’s Word 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 by the scoffer in 2 Peter 3:3-4, but we shall ask it earnestly and reverently. We shall be impressed with the weight of testimony that Scripture gives to the certainty of the Lord’s second coming. But we must look at the context of this question: we read of something we are to know and be sure about; it is something that relates particularly to the last days of the Dispensation of Grace, the period immediately prior to the Lord’s return. We are to expect scoffers in the last days. Do you know any? Every one who scoffs at the truth of Christ’s return is fulfilling this prophecy, and Peter tells us exactly what the scoffers say. Let us ask the question, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?”
1. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Old Testament
There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and these can be divided into the five books of Moses (the Pentateuch, Genesis to Deuteronomy); twelve historical books (Joshua to Esther); six books of poetry (Job to Lamentations); and sixteen books of major and minor prophets (Isaiah to Malachi). Concerning all these books we read – 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21. In each of these five groups we find the promise of His coming, as the following examples show:-
- Genesis 3:15. “You will strike his heel” refers to His first coming, fulfilled at Calvary where our Lord Jesus was crucified for us. “He will crush your head” refers to the second coming and to our Lord’s final overthrow of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 20:1-3).
- Genesis 5:24. Compare Hebrews 11:5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
- Genesis chaps. 22,23,24. 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; 45:3-4 and Acts 15:14).
- 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, 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. They were not fulfilled at His first coming, but await fulfilment. Compare Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19.
2. The Promise of His Coming is found in the four Gospels
Here we have the inspired and authoritative records of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and repeatedly He spoke of His second coming. For example:-
- Matthew 16:21,27; 24:3,27,35,36,37,44; and 25:1-13.
- Mark 13:24-27.
- 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, and in some of His parables, we have the promise of His coming.
3. The Promise of His Coming is found in the Acts of the Apostles
- Acts 1:9-11. The testimony of the angels is important because they were right at His birth (Luke 1:28-33; 2:8-14), and at 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 Letters 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; Hebrews 9:24-28.
- James: James 5:7-8.
- Peter: 1 Peter 1:10-11; 5:4; 2 Peter 3:3-4.
- John: 1 John 2:28; 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, noticing 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 the true believer
Look up Revelation 19:10: what is the testimony of Jesus which we, as believers, have within us? It is the promise of His coming again. The Holy Spirit places in our hearts the assurance and expectation of His near return, which causes us to cry out, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).