Gary answers a listener question about 2 Peter 3 and the fire language.

If there’s one passage of Scripture that is repeatedly brought up as an indictment against people who object to modern-day prophetic speculation it is 2 Peter 3:3–18. If you dispute with those who argue that all the signs around us indicate that we are living in the “last days,” then you are labeled a “scoffer” or a “mocker” (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 18). If this is how the passage is to be understood, then how should Bible students who argued against similar prophetic speculation during the two World Wars and previous periods of social, civil, and moral unrest going back centuries be evaluated? Those who questioned the prophecy speculators were correct in their skepticism that they were not living in the last days!

Every generation has had people who claimed the end was near and others who argued that the end was not near. Appealing to contemporary signs to make predictions of a near end of all things has a long history as Francis X. Gumerlock demonstrates in his book, The Day and the Hour. One would think that by now Christians would stop doing it. But they don’t. They know revving people up over the “last days” sells books . . . lots of books.

The people Peter and Jude accuse of being “scoffers” were enemies of Jesus and the gospel and were alive when Peter and Jude wrote their letters. They scoffed at the claims made by Jesus that the temple would be destroyed (Matt. 24:2) and Jesus Himself would be the person to make it happen before their generation passed away (Matt. 24:34; 21:18-46; 22:1-14). Since nearly 40 years—a generation—had passed since Jesus had prophesied about the impending destruction, and the temple was still standing with no indication that it would be destroyed in their lifetime, the scoffers began to mock the words of Jesus. “Where’s the sign of His coming? Your Jesus predicted it with certainty, and it has not come to pass. All is as it has been. Based on the Law of Moses, this Jesus was a false prophet” (see Deut. 18:22).

A Beginner's Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy

A Beginner's Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy

With so much prophetic material in the Bible—somewhere around 25% of the total makeup of Scripture—it seems difficult to argue that an expert is needed to understand such a large portion of God’s Word and so many ‘experts’ could be wrong generation after generation. If God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), how do we explain that not a lot of light has been shed on God’s prophetic Word and with so little accuracy?

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Gary answers a listener question about 2 Peter 3 and the fire language. Will the physical earth and heavens be destroyed in a universal conflagration, or is something else being communicated here? Will God destroy his creation in order to make another one, or will He redeem the existing one? We must read 2 Peter 3 in the context of Peter’s first letter, as well as the Old Testament.

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