3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:3-7
When things seem to be falling apart in this world, and when does it not, the prognosticators come forth from the woodwork to exclaim that the coming of the Lord is near. On cue, there are those who will chime in saying, “I think it’ll have to get much worse before He does.” Both are wrong. It has never had to reach a certain degree of badness for God to have had enough and dispatch his Son back to earth. It may, in fact, be more accurate to say that a certain degree of goodness needs to be reached for Him to come back! (2 Peter 3:9)
Paul and other writers wrote of the imminence of Christ’s return. It’s a part of basic sound doctrine.
11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Romans 13-11-14
This discussion is academic among those who read eschatological tea leaves. The bottom-line assumption is that the Lord will return someday soon. On this there is no material disagreement.
Peter takes issue with those who don’t believe in God’s plan, or his existence for that matter, and mock the sky watchers, placing them squarely in the “kook” category. Peter reminds us the world came into being by a spoken word, then was destroyed by water on the utterance of another, and annihilation by fire awaits, with permission to ignite perhaps on the tip of the Almighty’s tongue.
There’s a lot of reality to ignore to waltz merrily through life with no theological underpinnings, without awareness of the obvious. The presence of an inscrutable world populated with higher forms of intelligence, clear evidence of a previous worldwide deluge (if one merely looks out one’s airplane window over God’s sandbox), and a resilient nagging group of Cretans called Christians carrying around their precious bound Manifestos euphemistically called “The Word.”
Truth is, the truth is all about “the Word.” Deny it and you’ll become charcoal, so says Peter. Believe it, and you’ll be part of the Lord’s triumphant arrival to set things straight.
One last thought, a little more than 2,000 years ago God met with his Son in heaven and said a word, and the rest is history, that’s if you’re into that kind of thing. Scoff if you’d like, but His band of merry men were said to have “upset the world” with this story (Acts 17:6), which ended tragically with the Son’s death, and miraculously, quickly thereafter, his resurrection. It was then said in an account by the reputable doctor (Luke in Acts), in the presence of many eyewitnesses, that the Son ascended into the clouds, with angels pronouncing that He’d return in the same manner someday.
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11
This “someday” has always been soon, but apparently delayed long enough for the mockers to come to their senses.
8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9
Say “the word” and be saved!