Parousia, Eschatology and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and Second Petter’s defense of such against false teachers are the subjects of this weeks blog. We will first look for an understanding of Parousia and how, eschatology, the study of the last things or ultimate end of creation finds common ground in 2 Timothy. Parousia a Greek word meaning “presence” or “arrival,”and is often translated as “second coming.” The parousia is thought to mean the completion of God’s gift of salvation, which occurs on Jesus’ return to earth. This will be at a future time and
judgement and evil will cease, God’s purpose for the creation will be fulfilled. In simple talk it will be the completion of God’s gift of salvation.
The next subject to keep it simple is referred to as Eschatology.Two Greek words meaning “last”and the study of ‘end things’. Whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world or the nature of the Kingdom of God, Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology dealing with the “last things. Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. (Wikipedia)
Let’s leave the library and get in the scripture. In 2 Peter verses 1:16-3:13 we read of the refutation of the accusations of the false teachers. The section we will look at is all about bringing the message concerning ‘the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Peter is attacking the heretics whom no longer believed in it and even the people were beginning to doubt it and think it would never happen. We will go through the end of Chapter 1 this week.
We need to go back to the first part of this chapter for some background material . I will bypass verses 1 and 2, they are a whole blog in themselves. In these following verses we see Christ as Peter saw him. Christ is power, generosity, great promises. Step away for a moment and consider this. There are those even today that believe as many did then that believing in Christ can gain forgiveness for any and every sin. As crazy as it may sound there were those that gave no heed to sin, after all there was grace aplenty for all. That is not the way it works. With Christ in our life we can put aside our fascination with sin and the lusts of this life because of his presence in our life. There were those that believed that by the very virtue of our humanness we had a right to share in this divine nature. Life itself contradicts that. Everywhere we look we see our failures as humans. The decay of our Christian values and morals and the bitterness, crime and suffering that accompanies such behavior. If we look to John 10:10, we have an answer, ’I came’, said Jesus, ‘that they may have life, and have it abundantly’. Because of Christ we all have within us the ability to share the nature of God. The divine nature that often eludes us. Peter urges his people to equip their lives with every virtue and this letter even provides a list to add to other lists we already have. Let’s list those here.
Faith, courage, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, piety, brotherly affection, and of course Christian love.
Peter continues to encourage the people and speaks to the value of knowledge. We can understand even today how important it is to know what we are about, the more we know the more we can learn. By making these virtues he speaks of a part of our daily lives the closer we will come to knowing Christ. Should we choose not to do this we will become blind, unable to see the light; we become short-sighted and unable to follow the good way. The Methodists have a saying for this….Going on to perfection. Peter knows these false teachers will make the way difficult but with God’s help we will reach the journey’s end. Verses 12-15 Leaves us with this. We must teach God’s truth as long as we are here and we must make plans to see that we keep the truth in the minds of the people; we must lift up the name of Jesus Christ to all people.
Now in these next verses 16-18 Peter reaches the point of his message, the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Repetitive I guess, but can’t be repeated enough. Peter was on a mission to bring the people back the certainty of the second coming of Christ. The false teachers no longer believed that and the heretics said it would never happen, it had been too long. Now the detail here can be overwhelming so I will pick a few points that stand out. First of all Peter states his right to speak to this subject, defend the faith so to speak. He was with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and that there he saw the glory and the honor which were given to him. He heard the voice of God speak to him. The importance of this revelation is that it paints a picture of the triumphant glory of the second coming. To sum this part up Peter wants to bring the people back to a living belief in the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. Peter is saying, ‘I have seen Christ in his glory and have heard the voice of God in praise of his son’. I take liberty here to paraphrase Peter as he speaks to these people. ‘You also have through the eyes of your faith seen the cross, seen him die for our sins and many have testified to his resurrection. You must return to living your faith and be made one with Jesus Christ in his death and in his risen life and power.’
I think I will wrap this up for this week by sharing this with you. There is also the defense of the Prophets in verses 19 -21. This I will address in a future blog. For now to sum it up, consider this. Scripture should not and is not about any individual’s private opinion. We in the church need to understand and respect that more. Scripture is the revelation of God, through the Spirit to all men and women. The interpretation of scripture must always be guided by prayer and the Spirit. Do not be misled, the Spirit is still very active in the church today. The sad part is many people choose to ignore it for the convenience of their agendas and lifestyles. Next week we will pick up in Chapter 2 verse 1 and explore those false Prophets that Peter is attacking.
Life is Good
*Quick Note: I use several commentaries, bibles, other web sites when researching for my blogs. For this blog I visited Wikipedia, Daily Bible Study / Barclay and Bible Gateway for sources of information used to write this blog. I am grateful for these publications and the world of information available in this digital age.