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Friday, December 27, 2019

Response To Caleb Graham Video #3

If I misrepresented with your scholarship video in some way I do apologize as that was not my intention. I am glad you read scholars. Regarding the seals, none of us read the Bible from an objective blank slate. Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel, etc. all have scrolls and seals going on like John in Revelation does. We do have to read the texts and determine what those scrolls and seals are and what they mean and if one reads just scripture alone, one is very likely to make assumptions all over the place. Scholarship makes a difference and whether one knows it, directly or indirectly, scholarship of all sorts does infiltrate our bible readings even if we are just trying to study the Bible as a blank slate whether it be directly or indirectly (the latter would be the case mostly in this context). That is why I say it is an assumption if one is just reading the bible by itself, that the seals and scrolls are the same or different (whichever one chooses). I do hear what you are saying but it is still merely an assumption off of “reading the bible and interpreting it myself” going on there. It helps to have scholars backing up these claims is all I’m saying.

It really doesn’t matter if someone thinks that Paul doesn’t teach a biological resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 if Paul teaches a biological resurrection will take place (and he clearly does so). The Pharisees would have agreed with Paul on just about everything he says about there being a resurrection of the dead to take place. The main thing they would have disagreed upon would have been that Christ is God-Incarnate and Messiah and this God-Man being the source of the resurrection of the dead and the source of this event to take place at His 2nd Coming.

Christ, fully God-Incarnate remains God-Incarnate and He died and rose. Likewise, we shall too rise in like manner. Paul doesn’t change his words to make this resurrection of the dead some solely spiritual event. It is biological and a real event prophesied to occur that the biologically dead will biologically rise from the grave just like Christ biologically died and resurrected. Simple as that.

Caleb you are free to believe what you want about timing. I once used to do the same thing but it must be said… if it happened in 70 as you claim, and if we go with your take on timing, it took place then at that time and clearly, Paul teaches a biological rising from the dead among other things, so we need to show evidence of when this happened. We also need to explain why it isn’t documented at all by Jews, Romans, and why it is that, unanimously, none of the Early Church documents this to have taken place at all. The evidence doesn’t favor your position.

As a matter of fact, if I am going to take a full preterist approach and be brutally honest with it, I would have to take into account 1 Clement and etc. texts that unanimously show the Church after 70 read these scriptures and saw the 2nd Coming and resurrection of the dead as a biological rising of the dead and a future event. If I am going to be brutally honest, the only explanation I can truly give for it is that Christ did not come, the dead did not rise, and Christianity is nothing more than a failed doomsday cult with all the evidence given and the insistence on taking a full preterist take on their definition of timing unfortunately.

With regards to eklektos and other Greek terms, Eklektos is a word in Greek that has always meant what it means. It hasn’t changed and has no alternative meanings for the term. Words like mello, genea, pleroma, and various other Greek terms do have some alternative meanings in the Greek. Pleroma for example is not always numerical values in some contexts. Genea does not always mean generation and can mean race sometimes. Mello does not always mean imminent but can mean certainty. Eklektos however has no alternatives and certainly has never meant an ongoing continual selection period. It’s always been temporal. When the action of choosing ends one is chosen and the elect one or elect peoples have been chose.

Redefining eklektos would be like me saying “dog” means cat or something… Just doesn’t work.

Matthew 24:31 is connected with Romans 11:25-28. The number of Gentile elect are filled to the brim and it is clear that since pleroma is used in the same manner as Mark 8 uses it, that the number is numeric. When the # of Gentiles are filled up and full, ALL Israel (Jew and Gentile elect) shall be saved and this brings an end to the # of people who will choose/be chosen for the predestined plan for salvation. Caleb would be correct that if this all took place in 70 that he would not be part of the elect in the NT texts. What he is wrong about is that he would still be able to be part of the elect because of his faith. As a matter of fact, having faith would be irrelevant if the plan is completed for the elect of God. If we aren’t part of the elect, we aren’t part of the elect and can’t be saved unless we have a 3rd Testament or something to share that we are now part of the new election. Period.

Caleb asks how the Old Covenant ends at the Cross. This is pretty basic. 

1) We are NOT dispensationalist. 

2) Matthew 5 and Hebrews 8 show us the O.C. ended at the Cross, not AD70. 

3) Christ fulfilled the Law on the Cross. Not AD70. One merely only needs to read Romans to know this to be the case.

4) Caleb would have to prove that the Christians were still practicing the Law and being told to follow it if the Old Covenant was still in effect, which it wasn’t. 

The Church even had a council over this in Acts 15 to make sure Christians were not being forced to sacrifice and still eat kosher.

Some argue with Matthew 5:17-18 that if it is unfulfilled, then we should all be under Torah and the Old Covenant ways right now but often overlook that Acts 10, Acts 15, and many other instances disprove that claim. Peter eats with Gentiles and Paul, also a Jew, preaches to them and eats with them and lives with them on his ministry. It is also conveniently forgotten that the Bible teaches we cannot even follow the Law nor have we ever been able to fulfill the Law. It is only Christ who has fulfilled the Law and made us righteous by faith in Him. He, the Christ, as the High Priest gave His ultimate sacrifice and installed the New Covenant with His own blood, the Cross, and His Resurrection. In this, the New has superseded the Old and rendered it as dead, waxed, and void (Hebrews 8:13). We are no longer under the Mosaic Law. We are under the Law of faith, in the New Covenant. Matthew 5:17’s “law or the prophets” also is merely a way of referring to the whole Old Testament. Christ says He has “not come to abolish”. We should read Matthew 5:21-48 with their correctives, in light of Christ’s opening remarks in 5:17-18. In fulfilling the Law, Jesus does not alter, replace, or nullify the former commands; rather, He establishes their true intent and purpose in His teaching and accomplishes them in His obedient life. When He says “until all is accomplished” it means until the full manifestation of God’s Kingdom, for which we are called on to pray for (Matthew 6:10). 

St. Hilary of Poiters says of Matthew 5 that “from the expression, “pass”, we may suppose the constituting elements of heaven and earth will not be annihilated… He [Christ] does not intend to abolish it but to enhance it by fulfilling it. He declares to His apostles they will not enter heaven unless their righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees. Therefore, He bypasses what is laid down in the Law, not for the sake of abolishing it, but for the sake of fulfilling it[1].

The Old Covenant has passed and been rendered obsolete. We are bound to the New Covenant and not the Old. “Heaven and earth” used in the Bible many-a-time are not merely Hebrew idioms. If that were so, it would require one to overlook a lot of the NT and the OT where it’s strongly suggested one day material creation will be changed and transformed, no longer subject to the conditions brought to Creation by Adams’ sin. We know God will not be destroying Creation but instead will restore, renew, and transform it into the Image of Christ (Rom. 8:20-21 - “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay/corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God”).

As far as it being a real event if it took place in 70, why did the 2nd Coming happen and not a single soul claim it to have taken place?

Back to the Resurrection of the dead though for a minute because it ties into my final point about 2 Peter. Christ’s Final Judgment is not exactly the same as the OT judgments if Christ’s Incarnation took place and He remains God-Incarnate. Christ’s 2nd Coming is supposed to eradicate the existence of sin and death. That is literally what 1 Corinthians 15 is about, aside from the Resurrection, which Paul explains. The Resurrection not only takes place but death and sin are eradicated as well.

The Scriptures clearly do speak of a universal resurrection of the dead. “The universal resurrection and the events that follow after it are realities which we are incapable of representing fully with our imagination, since we have never experienced them in their authentic future form”[2]. We see that “as a result of the fall of man, the whole creation has been unwillingly subjected to ‘the bondage of decay’ and ‘groans and trevails in pain together with us’ (Rom. 8:22). The time will come when the whole material and human world must be purified from human sin and renewed… This renewal of the material world must be accomplished on the ‘Last Day’, the day when the last judgment of the world will be accomplished; and it will occur by means of fire. Mankind before the Flood perished by being drowned in water, but the Apostle Peter instructs us that ‘the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men’ (2 Peter 3:7 NKJV). Then ‘the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10, 13 NKJV).[3] The universal judgement aka the Final Judgment can be found in: John 5:22, 27-29; Matthew 16:27; 7:21-23; 11:22, 24; 12:36, 41-42; 13:37-43; 19:28-30; 24:30; 25:31-46; Acts 17:31; Jude 14-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 2:5-7; 14:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Ephesians 6:8; Col. 3:24-25; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 20:11-15. Matthew 25:31-46 paints the most complete picture of it for us but obviously, history and tradition back all the scriptures up too as well. In the future when this event happens, everything will be holy and immortal but the chief thing is that those who attain the future blessed life become ‘partakers of the Divine Nature’ (2 Peter 1:4)[4].

There was the belief by the Sadducees that there was no resurrection. However, it is well documented that the Pharisees accepted a literal resurrection, a future judgment day, and a future Messiah. The Christians carried this onward from Christ and on. One merely need look at known Christian art pieces to see this. The Greeks ended up being influenced by the Christian Church and would eventually be changed by the Church. This is made quite clear in 2 Peter.

2 Peter 3:4-7 actually deals with Greeks who were asking the question “where is God since He hasn’t appeared yet”. They, being Greek-minded, would be arguing the universe to be stable, so would argue convulsive upheavals like the 2nd Coming could not and would not happen in such a universe. St. Peter responds with 2 Peter 3:4-7 to show that we must see time as God sees it and that this is not a stable universe like they have thought. It was in fact once destroyed by water in the time of the Flood and so he argues that a 2nd destruction awaits and is on the way, by fire. He is going to descend most certainly, but is hastening the day, Peter argues, to allow repentance and to call us into living holy, as we should be, as we prepare to meet our God. The universe is not argued by Peter to be eternally stable at all. He argues otherwise as does Jude. If we read Enoch 83:3-5 as well, we see “I saw a vision how the earth was swallowed up in great abyss”. At the heart of this, whether you accept Enoch or not, is that Peter and Jude both clearly see that God will be changing the universe and the sinner will have to face the wrath of God. The destruction to come, it must be noted, will not be an annihilation but rather an invasion and ushering of the New Creation, the New Heavens and New Earth. The time will come when the material and human world must be purified from human sin and renewed. This renewal of the material world must be and will be accomplished on the Last Day.

2 Peter uses Hellenistic vocabulary and philosophy in it but adapts it to express Christian concepts to what is likely an audience of mostly Greek-minded Gentile or Jews influenced by Grecian thought-philosophy. Peter has borrowed some of these words for sure as he uses words like “partakers of the divine nature” which are straight from Hellenistic philosophic and religious terminology. Peter employs it however as an apt expression of the fullness of the Christian life. The same basic idea is expressed in different terminology by John in 1 John 1:3; 3:2, 9; John 15:4; 17:22-23 and Paul in Rom 8:14-17. Being renewed by God’s power, Peter shares that we become partakers of the divine nature. This however should not be mistaken to mean that we become divine by nature. If we participated in God’s essence, the distinction between God and man would be abolished. What this does mean though is that we participate in God’s energy, described by a number of terms in scripture, such as glory, life, love, virtue, and power. We’re called to become like God by His grace, and truly His adopted children, but never become God by nature. According to some Church Fathers, this especially occurs during the Eucharist, for when Christ’s Body and Blood become one with ours, we become Christ-bearers and partakers of the divine nature. The Christian who has received the Holy Spirit are sons of God (John 1:12; Rom 8:9-21). As such they’re being conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) and the image of God in them is being renewed in true righteousness. St Cyril of Alexandria states that: “We that are made worthy to participate in Him [the Holy Spirit] through faith in Christ are brought to perfection as participants of the divine nature, and are said to be born of God, and on that account are given the title gods, not flying up to the glory above us by grace alone, but as already having God indwelling and taking lodging in us, according to what is set forth in the Prophet, ‘I shall dwell among them and walk about in their midst’ (Lv. 26:12; 2 Cor. 6:16)”[5].

Peter was aware of those ideas on some level and knew them well enough to try and show some Greek influenced thinkers another way to think on the 2nd Coming and the end of the world and the future ushering in of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Peter did think like a Jew obviously, however, his ministry was not just applied to Jews. His ministry was to Gentiles as well and Jews of all types and kinds, like the Hellenist Jews, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essene Jews as well. The Apostles all were and would have been exposed to all sorts of varieties of ways of thinking. St. Peter obviously does think in certain ways of non-Christian ways of thinking since he points out why they are wrong when they claim that Christ will not return. He knows the way the enemies of Christ and the confused think. You have to know this in order to correct someone and bring them to the correct path anyways usually. The whole reason Peter writes 2 Peter in the first place is to correct some errors and flaws in others’ way of thinking, before he is executed by Nero in the hopes that these people will be corrected and come to Christ.

2 Peter 1:16-21 for a moment though. “In the anticipation of dealing with the problem of the delay of the Lord’s coming (cf. 3:1), Peter presents two motives for accepting this basic Christian teaching. In 1:16, Peter tells how he was present at Christ’s transfiguration (Mt 17:1-8 and parallels). The eyewitness testimony of the apostles to the Transfiguration establishes this truth of his message and provides a historical basis for the apostolic expectation of the 2nd Coming in that the Transfiguration was a glimpse of that future event. He says ‘cleverly devised myths’ in order to show that his apostolic doctrine has nothing in common with the false teachings that will be later mentioned in 2 Peter 2. He mentions the Parousia when he states ‘power and coming’. Much like it is referred to in 1 Thess. 2:19; 4:15; 2 Thess. 2:1; etc.; Mt 24:3; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12; James 5:7; 1 John 2:28), the ‘power’ can mean Jesus’ present power in the Church (as in v.3) or the power that shall be manifested at the Parousia. Both would also be true in the end as Christ does manifest His power in the Church today even though the Parousia hasn’t taken place yet. Clearly in verses 1:16-18, Peter establishes that he has been an eyewitness to the majesty of Christ in many ways – and reminds us he was one of those present with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-8). What Peter’s going to repeat about the 2nd Coming is the common apostolic tradition, which is buttressed by the eyewitness testimony of the apostles. It is not an elaborate scheme of fables, such as the Gnostics propounded. In all the Gospel accounts, the Transfiguration is a proof and a foretaste of the coming of Christ in glory.

He says the ‘eyewitnesses of his majesty’. His recollection of the transfiguration is to undermine objections to the Parousia by showing, on the testimony of apostolic eyewitnesses, that Jesus already possesses the essential qualities to be manifested at His coming: majesty, honor, and glory from the Father, messianic and divine son-ship. His acquaintance with the account of the transfiguration (Mk 9:2-10) is presumed. Although Mark does omits some details, the present account surpasses Mark in its heightened religious tone in Peter’s letter.

The testimony of the apostles both confirms prophetic word (v.19) concerning the 2nd Coming and shows us how to interpret prophecy. Just as Scripture (v. 20) wasn’t written by the mere volition of men but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (v.21), so Scripture is to be interpreted by holy men guided by the Holy Spirit. Heretics (Ch. 2) and unstable Christians (3:16) interpret incorrectly. The apostles (the ‘we’ of v. 19) are guided by the Holy Spirit, trusting in the promise of true interpretation (John 16:13). The Church, founded by the apostles, likewise receives the Holy Spirit. “For the apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her [the Church] most copiously everything which pertains to the truth. And everyone who wishes, draws from her the drink of life. For she’s the entrance to life, while all the rest are thieves and robbers. This is why it’s surely necessary to avoid them, while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth” (St. Irenaeus)”[6].

The material universe will not be destroyed in the 2nd Coming. Nor will time cease. Just as Christ was transfigured, the Creation shall be changed; transfigured. The bondage to decay will be delivered from man and the cosmos as they are transformed and conformed to the visible image of the Son of God (Rom. 8:21; Col. 1:15).

The Old Covenant was not destroyed at Calvary. It was fulfilled by Christ and rendered void and irrelevant through His death and Resurrection. He ushered in the New Covenant at Calvary. Second, Israel is the Church (Jew and Gentile Christians), so all promises belong to Israel/the Church. There is no distinction. Third, God keeps to His promises and does not break His promises.

Jesus was and is and remains the ultimate sacrifice. Romans and Hebrews clearly teaches this to be the case that the Old Covenant is obsolete today. It has not been destroyed but it has been rendered ineffective, void, and obsolete because of Calvary and the Resurrection. We are under the New Covenant now awaiting the fullness of the New Covenant being ushered in by His 2nd Coming! The atonement did not go on until AD70 like CBV FP often absurdly teaches. That is absurd and quite frankly ridiculous since Christ atoned for sin at the Cross, not AD70. It can be safe to say that 2 Peter is not fulfilled. The Old Covenant has been and there are parts of the Old Testament that await fulfillment as they are to be fulfilled under the New Covenant through the 2nd Coming.

The "last days" are the time between the 1st and 2nd Coming. Simple as that. We also live in the promises to come today. The already, not yet principle that has always been taught in Christendom remains despite objections. We are still in “the present, evil age” awaiting “the age to come”. When it does, evil will be no more. Sin, Satan, and death who have already lost their reign over us thanks to Christ will be finished off in the 2nd Coming. Jude and Peter both have scoffers and heretics in their time. The last days covers them then and us today now and the future until the end comes to this present evil age. 

2 Peter is not talking about the earth being destroyed when it talks about the fire. I would suggest though that the earth and cosmos will not be destroyed and that this has never been the position that should be taken. Rather, just like man, it will be “released from the bondage of decay” (Romans 8:21), transformed and conformed into the Image of the Son of God, who is the visible icon of the invisible God” (Romans 8:21; Col. 1:15). 2 Peter is not something we can chalk up to “covenant spiritual language” (whatever that is). 

In 2 Peter 2 we see that it resembles Jude 4-13 quite a lot. Both have the evildoers in the community denounced and threatened with punishment and using Old Testament examples. In 2 Peter 2:1-3 Peter begins talking about what concerns him the most, that is, the false teachers who are unholy and spread their heresy. They are arrogant, sensual, and evil. Peter deals with them in almost the same way Jude does, but the heretics deny taking any type of accountability in their lives. Instead, they isolate themselves from the apostolic doctrines concerning Christ and hold to their own “private interpretations”, misconstruing doctrines about the 2nd Coming and the ultimate authority of Christ over us. As deceivers, the heretics teach as if they possess a true apostolicity when they do not.

The verses in 2 Peter 2:10-22, like 3:3, express the prophetic foresight of a future situation, and the descriptions in vv.10-22 like 2 Peter 3:5 also indicate that the situation being described is already present. It’s quite easy to explain this since the already not yet principle is literally what is going on here.

2 Peter 2:4-10 has Peter showing us that God’s past judgements show us what awaits the heretics. God will divide the holy from the unholy in the life to come. We already have that example of the angels who sinned (v. 4), and were imprisoned in the lowest part of hell (Gr. Tartarus), awaiting the final judgement. Verse 10 repeats the main two sins of these heretics: immorality and the disdain for authority, especially that of Christ. Noah is called a preacher of righteousness (v.5) and this is shown by him doing the righteous deeds that he showed to all who saw him show how the faithful life ought to be lived (Heb. 11:7). In 2 Peter 2:12-17, the heretics are condemned. Those who are thinking in the natural sense cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14) and will be destroyed, as false prophets have been in the past. For the story of Balaam (v 15), see Num. 22:1-25:9; 31:8, 16; Dt. 23:4, 5; Joshua 13:22; Jude 11.

In 2 Peter 2:4-9, “If compared to Jude, 2 Peter omits the examples of the rebellious Israelites (Jude 5), of Cain and of Korah (Jude 11); inserts Noah and Lot as examples of divine mercy (2:5, 7); agrees with Jude in citing the examples of the fallen angels (2 Peter 3:4; Jude 6), Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 3:6; Jude 7), and Balaam (2 Peter 3:15-16; Jude 11); and has a generalized form of Jude’s Michael-Satan example (2 Peter 2:10-11; Jude 8-10). The style of 2 Peter is more uniform in this section, and the sequence of OT events is more chronological than in Jude. In 2 Peter 2:4 it says ‘angels when they sinned’: See the details of the angels’ offenses in Jude 6. Jude 6 refers to the ‘sons of God’ who took to wife the daughters of men (Gen 6:1-4). This seems very implied in Jude 7 because the Sodomites sinned ‘in a similar manner’ to the angels. Furthermore, Enoch (quoted in Jude 14-15) gives great emphasis to this sin of the angels and to its punishment in terms very similar to those used here by Jude (cf. Enoch 6-16; esp. 10:4-6, 11, 13; 12:4; 15:3; 19:1). In 2 Peter 2:4-6, where the fall of the angels occurs along with that of the Sodomites, the imprisoned angels awaiting judgement in 2 Peter and Jude are identified by some to be with the ‘spirits in prison’ of 1 Peter 3:19… ‘But cast them into Tartarus and delivered them to judgement with cords of darkness’ ‘of darkness which have been kept for them’. Tartarus was thought by the Greeks to be a subterranean place that was lower than Hades where divine punishment was meted out. It was so regarded by the Jews also [cf. Job 41:24 LXX; Enoch 20:2; Philo, Josephus, C. Ap. 2, 240]”[7].

St. Bede shares that “He shows that the punishment of the final judgment is still due the apostate angels. Concerning it the Lord says, ‘Go from Me, ye who have been cursed, into the fire, the everlasting one, which hath been prepared for the devil and his angels [Mt 25:41]’, although by way of punishment they’ve already received this lower world, that is, this lower dark atmosphere, as a prison. For insofar as the lower world can be said to be space (comparable) to the height of the sky of the present atmosphere, so also to this extent can be said of the lower world and its depth which lies beneath be understood as land (comparable) in deepness to the same atmosphere. Yet he calls this boasting of pride by which the angelic spirit became puffed up against its Creator the lines of the lower world; in truth, when the breeze blows, the ropes by which sailors raise their sails that they may leave the calmness of the harbor and entrust themselves to the ever uncertain waves of the sea are said to be lines. The attempts of the unclean spirits are fittingly compared to these lines. As soon as they were driven by the blast of pride and raised themselves up against their Creator, they were snatched by these very attempts at loftiness into the depths of the abyss.” [Commentary on 2 Peter, 136, 137.]

Of note: In 2 Peter 2, “Sodom and Gomorrah” is mentioned. Like the case of the angels in Jude 7, it gives details of the sin of the “cities of the plain”. Sodom’s an outstanding example of sinfulness and its divine punishment in the Apocrypha. The triad are sinful angels (v.4), the flood (v.5), and Sodom (v.6). 2 Peter 2:7-8 talks of Lot’s righteousness and this is stressed by a three time repetition (an emphasis lacking in the Old Testament accounts [Gen 13 and 19]). Later Jewish tradition generally regarded Lot in an unfavorable light, especially because of Genesis 19:30-38. However, there should be noted that there was a strand of rabbinic exegesis that does exalt Lot, which agrees with Wisdom 10:6; cf. 1 Clement 11:1.

2 Peter 2:15-16 has the comparison with Balaam (Jude 11) being expanded, probably for emphasis’ sake. Although the OT data on Balaam (Numbers 22-24 and 31) doesn’t emphasize his covetousness, later Jewish tradition, reflected in 2 Peter and Jude, did so. 2 Peter 2:17 – An abbreviated and somewhat modified form of Jude 12-13. Since the final phrase about the nether darkness is more appropriate in Jude, this is one of the many indications of dependence of 2 Peter on Jude. “Mists driven by a storm”: Like hazy clouds that provide no refreshing rain (Jude 12), the false teaching can’t provide spiritual sustenance.

What is the Day of the Lord? It is a judgment. There will be a Final Judgment after the 2nd Coming, a physical, visible event. It does not have to be like the Father’s judgments before. Christ is the visible Image of the Son of God (Col. 1:15) and the Son is not the Father. Therefore, it will be visible as long as He is both fully God and fully man. The 2nd Coming will come like a thief in the night and we do not know the day nor do we know the hour. It most definitely did not happen in AD70.

Full preterism usually establishes that sin and death will just go on forever, without end, from ages to ages. Truth is though, the OT and the NT both attest to looking forward to a time when there is no more sin or death and that God puts an end to it. Next in 2 Peter 3, the word elements (Gr. stoicheia) should be discussed. We have in 2 Peter 3:1-16, the teaching of Peter on the Lord’s Parousia, that was referred to back in 1:16-19 now going to be defended against the scoffing of the false teachers. The followers are asking where God is. They are as Greeks would do so, arguing for the universe and the elements being stable. They do not believe that there could ever possibly be a convulsive upheaval to take place such as the likes of Christ’s 2nd Coming. Such a thing cannot and will not happen in the Greek mindset at this time in their conceptions of the universe so Peter brilliantly responds to this by showing that we must see time as God sees it and that this is not a stable universe at all. Peter argues it was once destroyed by water in the time of the Flood and that a second destruction is awaiting us and is on the way, by fire. He argues that Christ is going to descend as promised but is hastening the day, Peter argues, to allow repentance and to call us into living holy as we should be, as we prepare to meet our God. The universe is not argued by Peter to be eternally stable at all like the Greeks. He argues otherwise as does Jude. If we read Enoch 83:3-5 we see “I saw a vision how the earth was swallowed up in great abyss”. At the heart of this, whether you accept Enoch or not, is that Peter and Jude both clearly have this similar mindset or vein of thought as Jewish Christians in that they see that God will be changing the universe and the sinner will have to face the wrath of God. The destruction to come, it must be noted, will not be annihilation but rather the ushering in of the New Creation, the New Heavens and New Earth.

“Clement of Rome: ‘Far from us be that which is written, ‘Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us’.” “Far from us be that which is written, ‘Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us’.

Hippolytus of Rome: First of all Peter, the rock of the faith, whom Christ our God called blessed, the teacher of the Church, the first disciple, he who has the keys of the kingdom, has instructed us to this effect: ‘Know this first, children, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts’.”[8]

“It’s clear to all who love His coming that the mind must be controlled rather moderately in this conjecture. We must surmise nether that the aforesaid day of the Lord is near and will come quite quickly, nor again that it’s coming too slowly. But we should be diligent in seeing to this alone: that whether it comes sooner or later, it may find us ready when it does come” -St. Bede-

It is clear that the promise of his coming - from the delay in Christ’s return that many concluded God would never return to judge them but this is not the case at all as He will judge them. These scoffers of the end time ridicule the promise of the Parousia. Since, however, neither the OT nor the NT predictions contain this detail of “promise”, where is the promise of His Coming? It is apparent there was a widespread impression in the Early Church that the Parousia would occur within the lifetime of some of those who had seen Christ. Such was seen from sayings of Christ like Matthew 10:23 and Mark 9:1, 13:30 for example which may by some have been taken this way. You can find a similar expression that there is some disillusion at the delay of the Parousia that you find in 1 Clement 23:3 (cf. 2 Clement 11:2 as well). Peter answers this question though with a resounding fact that we are on God’s time and He has given us all this delay because He desires repentance and it is not time for the 2nd Coming yet as well.

So to recap, Peter says “from the beginning of Creation” because according to the scoffers, the past unchanging nature of the world would rule out such future cosmic changes as were associated with the Parousia. The scoffers’ assertion in v.4 is refuted by the cosmic destruction by water in the past, which parallels the future cosmic destruction by fire (vv. 5-7).

While it’s not entirely clear because of the syntax, we know that in 3:5, the cosmogony is that of Genesis 1:1-2, 6-10. And by the word of God, in Gen 1 God creates by His word. In 3:6, he says “through which”: Since the pronoun is plural (di’ hon), this probably refers to two sources of the flood waters, those above and those beneath (see Gen 7:11; 8:2). Against false teachers, Peter cites Creation and the Flood as prime examples of God’s intimate involvement and intervention in history. “By the same word” the same divine word that created the world and brought judgement at the Flood. The argument proceeds a-pari: Because the same word of God that caused creation and the flood has also foretold the coming cosmic events, the later are as certain as the former. He says “stored up for fire” referring to Sodom and Gomorrah which serve as paradigms of the final fiery judgement (2:6) for Peter. Although this picture of a universal inferno at the last judgment is unique to Peter, the idea of divine judgement by fire is common in the Old Testament (Deut. 32:2; Isa 66:15, 16; Mal 4:1) and is found in the New Testament as well (Mt 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8). Peter’s point in 3:8 is to assert that God is sovereign over time and that His perspective on time differs radically from ours. “A thousand years as one day”: Inverting the quotation from Psalms 89:4 (cited in the 1st part of the verse), the argument from God’s mysterious transcendence has been made more applicable to the problem of the delay of the Parousia. [Ps. 89(90):4 LXX]

3:9 says “forbearing toward you” which means is Peter’s answer to the contemporary problem of the Parousia. The delay is due to the universal salvific will of God (see 3:15; Rom 11:32; 1 Tim 2:4). These words aren’t just for false teachers but for us all. We’re granted more time primarily to grant us fuller repentance. (See 3:15; 2 Cor. 7:9, 10).  The delay of Divine Judgement is a sign of God’s forbearance and mercy toward them, particularly toward the believers in their midst who’ve been confused and misled by the false teachers. Repentance is in view for the sake of which God delays judgement. We clearly know the Jews saw time in terms of two ages. This present age which is bad and not going to be remedied and the age to come, the golden age of God.

With regards to the Greek word Stoicheia, it is “simply a term used for (a) the elements making up the world (according to philosophers these were earth, air, fire, and water); (b) heavenly bodies like the sun, moon, and stars; (c) angelic beings with power over nature. Most interpreters often favor both b and c combined. The elements: Since these are distinguished from the heavens and the earth, they may signify heavenly bodies, perhaps including the angelic powers connected with them. The earth and the works that are upon it will be found: This obscure expression is textually the better reading than such variants as “will be burned up”, “will disappear”, and “will not be found”. The meaning of “will be found” may be “will be laid bare”. Although the image of fire is often mentioned in the OT and the NT in connection with the Day of the Lord, 2 Peter 3:7-13 is the only scriptural passage that asserts a final conflagration by which the universe will be destroyed on that day. The idea of a final conflagration was, however, widespread at the time of the composition of 2 Peter”[9].  

St. Symeon the New Theologian: “Just as the created world was 1st brought into existence as incorrupt, and then later, man, so again it is creation which must 1st be transformed from corruption into incorruption, changed, and then, together with it and at the same time, the corrupted bodies of men shall be renewed, such that, he himself shall become at once spiritual and immortal, and shall have an incorrupt, and spiritual, and everlasting country in which to make his home. Here the apostle says, ‘But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a rushing sound, and the elements, being burned with intense heat, shall be dissolved; and earth and the works in it shall be burned completely’. He doesn’t mean that the heavens and the elements will be destroyed, but rather, re-forged and transmuted into a greater and everlasting condition. Where do we know this from? ‘According to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth’ [2 Peter 3:13]. Whose promise is this? Certainly it’s the promise of Christ our God. He said, ‘The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but my words in no wise shall pass away’ [Mt 24:35]. By ‘passing away’ He means ‘change’…. The heaven and earth and all that’s within them - that is, all of creation – shall be made anew and liberated the bondage of decay. The elements themselves shall share with us in that incandescence from above, and in the same way that were shall be tried by fire, so, according to the apostle, shall all creation be renewed through fire....How then are all things to be dissolved? In just the way that a copper vessel, when it’s grown old and become quite spoiled and useless on account of rust, is taken by the craftsman and put in the fire to be re-forged by hum and formed again as new, so also in the same way creation, after having grown old and been spoiled by our sins, shall be dissolved in fire by the Maker of all, and then forged anew and transmuted, becoming incomparably brighter and newer than the world which we see now”[10]

St. John Chrysostom: “For since thou hast taken a body mortal and liable to suffering, the earth too hath received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. But that the heaven, when it’s waxen old along with the earth, is to change afterwards to a better lot, hear from the prophet in his words: ‘Thou, O Lord, in the beginning, founded the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou remains; and they shall all become old as an outer garment. And as a covering Thou shall roll them up, and they shall all be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail [Ps. 101(102):25-27]’. Isaiah too declares the same when he says, ‘Lift up your eyes to the sky, and look on the earth beneath: for the sky was darkened like smoke, and the earth shall wax old as an outer garment, and the inhabitants shall die in like manner: but my righteousness shall not fail [Is 51:6]’. Now you see in what sense the creation ‘was subjected to vanity [Rom 8:20],’ and how it’s to be freed from the ruined state. For the one says, ‘All as an outer garment shall grow old, and as a covering shalt Thou roll them up, and they shall be changed’; and Isaiah says, ‘and the inhabitants shall die in like manner’, not of course meaning an utter perishing. For neither do they that dwell therein, mankind, that is, undergo such a one, but a temporary one, nor through it they’re changed into an incorruptible [1 Cor. 15:53] state, and so therefore will the creature be”[11]

St. Symeon: “All Creation, once made anew, will become spiritual, and together with paradise shall be transformed into an immaterial, unchanging, eternal, and intelligible dwelling place. The sky, on the other hand, will be incomparably brighter, in a manner indeed quite new from our visible sky, while the earth, on the other hand, will take on a new and inexpressible beauty, an unfading verdure, ornamented by shining flowers, varied and spiritual. It’ll be an earth, as the sacred word has it, ‘wherein righteousness dwells’ [2 Peter 3:13]…..All things there are beyond speech, transcend thought….”[12]

St. Gregory the Theologian: “I await the voice of the archangel [1 Thess. 4:16], the last trumpet [1 Cor. 15:52], the transformation of the heavens, the transfiguration of the earth, the liberation of the elements, the renovation of the universe [2 Peter 3:10]”.[13]
St. Bede: “Don’t think that the Lord delays His promises, but understand that He waits with forbearance that more persons may be saved”.

[1] Catena App. Mt. 5:19 – St. Hilary of Poiters.
[2] Michael Pomazansky. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. 1997. 341.
[3] Ibid. 345.
[4] Ibid. 353.
[5] Catena App. Search 2 Peter.
[6] Jerome Study Bible. 496.
[7] Jerome Study Bible. Vol. 2: 496-497.
[8] Catena App. 2 Peter 3.
[9] Jerome Study Bible. Vol. 2: 498.
[10] St. Symeon. On The Mystical Life, Vol. I: The Church and The Last Things, The Ethical Discourses, 1st Ethical Discourse, III, IV, pp. 35, 36].
[11] St. John Chrysostom. Hom. 14 on Romans, P.G. 60:582 (col. 530)
[12] St. Symeon the New Theologian. “The Ultimate Splendor of Creation”, On the Mystical Life, Vol. I: The Church and the Last Things, the Ethical Discourses, 1st Ethical Discourse, V, 41.
[13] St. Gregory the Theologian. Oration 7, Panegyric on His Brother St. Caesarius. Section 21, in Nicene, 2nd Ser., VII:237.

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