“Therefore, beloved, seeing that you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. And regard the longsuffering of our Lord as salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable distort to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Peter’s reference to “these things” certainly refers to the events about which he had just written. In the historical context of his readers who were faced with constant mockery and scoffing, we assume that “these things” are the same things about which Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus when Jesus had just revealed that not one stone would be left on another in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (See Mt 24:2; Mk 13:3). They were concerned about that which was going to happen in their lifetime (Mk 9:1). Jesus admonished those early disciples not to be deceived, but to look for those things about which He spoke in reference to the end of Israel.
We would not do justice to this context if we were to use “these things” as a reference to the “signs of the time” for which we must be looking in order to anticipate the coming of the Lord at the end of time. We must stay in the historical context of the early Jewish Christians who were about to experience the termination of their Jewish nationhood. They were about to suffer a tremendous attack against their religion through the destruction of the temple.
On the other hand, Christians today are in the business of populating the new heavens and new earth through the preaching of the gospel. The more God delays the destruction of this present heavens and earth the more opportunity we have to enroll citizens in the world to come.
Because the future events have no parallel in either the present or past, there are those who will “twist the Scriptures” about these matters (2 Pt 3:16). They do so because they are untaught and unstable in the word of God. The result of their twisting will be their own demise. In the immediate historical context in which Peter wrote, Peter here referred to those mockers and scoffers in the lives of the Jewish Christians who were saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pt 3:4). Since this was the case, then surely their destruction will be in the mass genocide that would take place in the wars of Rome against Jewish nationalism. Jesus warned of the same in Matthew 24.
But there are also those today who are twisting the Scriptures concerning future events. No few false proclaimers of the end of time have arisen throughout history. Their erroneous prognostications have led to thousands being deceived into believing all sorts of false doctrines and signs concerning the end of time. Jesus would remind such people with the warning that He gave to the disciples in Matthew 24, “Be not deceived.”
[End of series on 2 Peter 3.]