Devotion - Are We Living in the Last Days?
2 Peter 3:1-7
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
The term “The Last Days” is found 5 times in the New Testament. These include Acts, 2 Timothy, James, Hebrews, and here in 2 Peter. Outside the Bible, theological scholars have been continuously trying to predict Jesus return. One such scholar, Christopher Columbus, the founder of America, penned a book called “The Book of Prophesies” where he predicted the end of the world in 1656. In 1988, another author by the name of Edgar Whisenant predicted the end in his book “88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988”. Throughout time, there have been so many try to predict the end, so why hasn’t the end came? Are we truly living in the last days?
The simple answer to the question of why Jesus hasn’t returned is found in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly tells us that it is not God’s time to return yet. Even Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). So what is God the Father waiting for? The salvation of all those who will choose to come to know Jesus as Lord and savior. I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for His long suffering as a soul that was only just saved in 2001.
What about the second question? Are we living in the last days? And if so when did they begin since they were such labeled by the early apostles in the holy scriptures? Well the second answer is found in Hebrews 1:2 when it clearly states “Hath in THESE LAST DAYS spoken unto us by his Son..”. So the answer is yes we are in the last days, but also have been since the times of Christ. This may sound like a way to skate around the question but it is true. However, because of the signs today, we should know that the end is much closer than it was over 2000 years ago. What signs should we be looking for? There are many given about the world and its inhabitants in Matthew 24 and 2 Timothy 3, but 2 Peter 3 singly focuses on the attitude of unbelievers at that time which he calls scoffers. This word scoffer is referring to ones who ridicule the truth or downplay something important. Doesn’t this sound like many in the world today? It almost feels like Peter is prophesying about our news and social media outlets. These are those unbelievers that want their desires over accountability. Just like 2 Peter 3 says, “walking after their own lusts”. These are those that are willingly ignorant so they can have illusionary control of their life. Jesus described such people well in John 8:44-45 when talking to the scoffers in His day. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” 2 Peter 3 references the days of Noah where he preached repentance and judgment for 120 years before entering the ark, but yet so many refused, scoffing at God and continuing in their own lust. Please don’t be that person with the rapid end approaching. All the things we lust after will be detroyed leaving behind nothing but our soul. Give your heart to Christ before it is too late!
What should the focus of believers be in the last days? Well, it is the same focus as it has always been throughout time, JESUS! So what do we as his followers and servants need to be doing with this focus? First, don’t lose our focus on Him. 1 Timothy 4:1 tells us, “that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,..”. The Spirit of God is telling us that some will leave the church and their first love. Know this that we can be in the front row of the church and still far away from God. He is the one who loved us before we were His. He is the one who died for all our sins on that cross. But yet, as the years roll on doesn’t our faithfulness to Him seem to fade? This is spoken of in Revelation chapter 2-3 as Jesus rebukes the churches in Asia for leaving their first love. Secondly, don’t lose our focus on service. In Luke 19:13, Jesus says, “Occupy till I come.” Jesus wants us to be about the Fathers business. This means being faithful in spite of our circumstances. No matter what happens in this country God is still in control. No matter who is in the White House, Jesus is still king of kings. Also, this means telling others about God’s goodness, grace and sharing Jesus with all. Romans 10:14-15 emphasizes this by saying “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Finally, this focus means being the church and being faithful to the church until He returns. Peter knew this by listening to Jesus emphasize the importance of church “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18).
Are we doing these things? Are we seeing this out of His children? Or are we falling away? Without constant feeding of our spirit through prayer and bible study, we will begin to drift. It is human nature to be this way. Unfortunately, we are often so busy with the cares of this world that our drifting is happening without much focus at all. We all need to be careful lest we fall.
In closing, there was a greeting by the early church that maybe our church in the last days should bring back. They would pray the word maranatha which means our Lord return. Brothers and sisters, let’s not be caught losing focus and watch soberly for His imminent return. Just as with all other promises our Lord has fulfilled, He too will fulfill this very thing as it is stated in 2 Peter 3:10. “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.” Be ready! Be watching! Be faithful!