by Phillip A. Ross
A couple of years ago a friend asked me about my interpretation of 2 Peter 3:12: “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!” Are we to take it literally? And if not, why not? Isn’t the plain reading the right reading most of the time? I’ve thought a lot about the questions, issues and concerns regarding this and address them here, sometimes somewhat indirectly.
I knew that I couldn’t just jump into Second Peter without dealing with First Peter first. So, I worked my way through First Peter and published that book as Peter’s Vision of Christ’s Purpose in First Peter (Pilgrim Platform, Marietta, Ohio, 2011). There Peter wrote to the fledgling saints who fled Jerusalem prior to its destruction in A.D. 70 in order to help them understand that God had not and would not abandon them. On the contrary, God inhabited them as they fled in order to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through them.
Peter wrote a lot about the end, as my friend noticed and was concerned about. And because contemporary Christians have been inundated with end times scenarios and Dispensational concerns for a couple of generations now, there is a lot of concern that the world is nearing the end of history. Peter was also concerned that “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter4:7). It was at hand when Peter wrote, and it is still at hand today.