Sunday, August 2, 2015
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).
What can the Apostle Peter teach us about dispensational Bible study?
God’s impending judgment is connected to the Old Testament prophecies of Israel’s coming Messiah (Deuteronomy 32:22-43; Psalm 2:4-5; Psalm 68:1-8; Isaiah 34:1-15; Jeremiah 25:29-33; Joel 1:1–2:32; Nahum 1:1-8; Zechariah 14:12; et al.). Hence, John the Baptist, just before Messiah (Christ) Jesus began His earthly ministry, warned his audience of that “wrath to come,” when Jesus would baptize Israel “with fire,” “to burn up the chaff [lost Jews] with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12). Jesus Himself forewarned of this future “burning,” this “fire,” when angels would gather unbelieving sinners and “cast [them] into a furnace of fire,” a place with “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:30,40-42,49,50). At that Second Coming of Christ, the Jesus-rejecters (Matthew 24:37-41) and the Jewish-haters would be consumed and tossed into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:30,41-46).
In early Acts, Peter urged Israel—who had just crucified Jesus—to quickly repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Christ because He was coming back to judge His foes—them (Acts 2:32-40)! One year later, Stephen said he saw Jesus standing at His Heavenly Father’s right hand, ready to return and pour out that wrath on still-rebellious Israel (Acts 7:51-55). Literally moments away from God’s wrath falling on wicked mankind, just before Jesus Christ came back in “flaming fire” to take vengeance on rebels (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9), He returned in grace and mercy, to save the leader of Israel’s rebellion—Saul of Tarsus. Yes, God took Satan’s chief man and made him the Apostle Paul!
Writing near his life’s end, Peter did not instruct his audience to read the Old Testament or Four Gospels to learn about that delay in wrath. Why? We only learn the mystery from Paul, which is exactly where Peter directed his readers in today’s Scripture!