WHAT THE APOSTLES WERE LOOKING FOR
It is appropriate we should take notice in this connection of the fact that the apostles of Christ, and they who follow their teaching, were (and are) looking for the very same things which were in the vision of the fathers of Israel; for as Peter – writing “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us” (the apostles of Christ) says: “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13).
Thus the outlook of the true “Israel of God,” that “holy nation” which is, and always was, composed only of those who are “of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16), was ever the same. And it was, as we should expect, a radically different outlook from that of the degenerate and apostate Jews, who looked for an age (or “dispensation” as it is now called) of earthly glory for the reconstituted Jewish nation; an age in which that nation will occupy the place of dominance over the Gentiles. Manifestly Peter could not have written the above quoted verse if he had held the now current doctrine of a millennium of earthly greatness for the Jewish nation.
Indeed the entire chapter bears strong testimony against that doctrine. The general subject of the chapter is “the promise of His coming” (v. 4); and its special purpose is to warn the Lord’s people of what would seem to them a long delay in His second coming and to assure them that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some would regard it, but that the reason for the seeming delay was because of the long suffering of God, and of His desire that not any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (vv. 3-9).
To all that give due attention to this passage it must surely be evident that what is immediately to follow this day of salvation for all men is “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (v. 7), “the day of the Lord” (v. 10), “the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (v. 12).
Manifestly, if this present day of salvation were to be followed by a day of glory, peace and prosperity for the earth, a day in which the entire Jewish nation and other nations as well, are to be saved, there would be no long suffering and mercy in prolonging the Saviour’s absence; but just the reverse. The apostle’s reason for the delay is valid only if the return of the Lord is to usher in the day of judgment, and if it coincides with “the coming of the day of God.” The apostle reminds us that the world that existed in the time of Noah, “being overflowed with water, perished”; and goes on to say that, “the heavens and earth which are now… are kept in store” – not for a thousand years of peace and plenty, but – “reserved unto fire” (v. 7).
In verse 10 he warns us, as do other Scriptures (Mat. 24:42; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 16:15), that our Lord’s coming will take the world by surprise; and he couples the warning with information which shuts out all possibility of a millennial dispensation to follow His coming; for the apostle says:
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
And then he admonishes us as to what our “conversation” (manner of life) ought to be in view of the immanency of these exterminating judgments; and that we should be “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (v. 12).
Manifestly it is impossible that we should be “looking for,” and more so that we should be “hasting unto,” the coming of that day, if a millennial age is to intervene.