#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
Today, we’re examining an important question that many unbelievers often throw as an argument against the existence of God and His promises.
Question: Where is the promised return of Jesus and His second coming?
Why isn’t the day of the Lord Here yet?
The Apostle Peter gives a straightforward answer to such arguments in II Peter 3. This passage of scripture serves as our sole source for answering this question. Our approach to this question is a bit different than the usual style on the blog. Nonetheless, we hope this post edifies, encourages and equips you to respond to this question in a way that builds up your faith. Let’s jump in!
The key pieces of scripture we’ll be looking at from II Peter 3 [ESV] are verses 3 – 9, 11 – 12, 14-15 & 17.
“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
This is the introduction of the debate surrounding the question. There are people who think that because God’s sentence (i.e. judgment) against them is not speedily executed, it must mean that it will never be executed. They now use this as an opportunity to continue in their evil works and they persuade others to join their crusade.
They argue that all those God made His promises to (i.e Abraham and Co) are dead. If it was not made good in their time, there’s no way it will be made good in our time! So why should we trouble ourselves about it?
Because in their view, all things have continued in the same way since creation, and the world has undergone no changes in the course of so many thousand years, why should we scare ourselves that it will have an end? It is a world without end.
They put forward this argument to say that God has not intervened in History since creation, therefore, God will not intervene in History at all. But Peter in the next verses, illustrates that this is an ignorant comment.
“They deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”
Peter gives this as an example of God intervening in History through the flood in the days of Noah and by this demonstrates that God is indeed capable of fulfilling His promise to intervene again – their willful ignorance of this fact gives them no innocence whatsoever. Peter then continues to expand on this in subsequent verses:
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Although we often take this to mean that a day is 1000 years to God, it’s not necessarily like that. The key point Peter uses this to illustrate, is that God is sovereign over time and His perspective on time differs from ours. We don’t perceive time in the same way.
It may seem like ages to you since Jesus left and promised to return, but to God the Father, He doesn’t see it the same way. The past present and future are ever before God, He experiences it all as one flowing moment.
Jesus said the same way you saw me ascend into heaven is the same way you will see me return. What we consider as Jesus’ being slow to return is actually His patience that all should receive the Gift of Salvation. The so called “delay” in judgment is merely a sign of God’s long suffering mercy towards unbelievers and believers who have been led astray by false teachers.
Do you think Jesus no longer desires to return? or maybe He’s forgotten about His promise? or that God the father doesn’t want to be united in eternity with those who have loved and served Him faithfully on earth? No!
There’s a popular proverb in my language (yoruba) that says, Iyo t’ekun yo; Ki ma ise t’ojo – meaning that the slowness of the Tiger’s hunt is not actually because it is slow.
When a tiger slowly and silently watches/stalks its prey before an attack, it is not because it is afraid but because it’s waiting for the best moment to strike. It is the same with God! The Lion of the tribe of Judah is not slow in keeping His promises. The day of the Lord will surely come, and it will come suddenly! At the most opportune moment. Right now God is waiting and watching. Waiting for time to ripen the harvest.
That proverb is also used to illustrate that there is much wisdom is patience. And indeed, there is much wisdom in God’s patience and longsuffering. John 3:16 tell us God so loved the world that He gave His son for it. What a waste that would it be if afterwards God was not patient enough to give a chance for all to receive His son.
God is not willing that ANY should perish. Therefore, Peter exhorts us further on how we should behave knowing this truth:
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
Peter is telling us in these verses that actions matter. Our behaviour as believers can hasten the day of the Lord through our evangelism, prayer and obedience. We ought to live lives of holiness and godliness in anticipation of His return.
Take Care = Watch & Pray
Always keep watch. We must keep a strong hold over our actions and activities. We all have our weaknesses. We can easily be swayed if don’t stand firm on the truth we know in our hearts. We must be careful not to get carried away thinking that the day of the Lord can’t be tomorrow or even the next moment.
To answer the question in short. The truth is, it’s not much of a question at all. The day of the Lord isn’t here yet simply because its time is not yet. You’ve heard it said that delay is not denial. That statement cannot ring any truer than in this present situation.
Don’t let people tell you that Jesus isn’t coming back anymore. He is.
– Selah –