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Chronology 18: one day is as…

04-04-2016 - Posted by Andre Piet

images8 The generation of the apostles lived intensely in the ‘coming soon’-expectation of the coming Kingdom. Their generation would witness that. Among them the idea that the apostle John would be alive at the coming of the Lord was intense (John 21: 23). For example Peter preached to Israel, as spokesman for the twelve, that they should repent and then the Messiah would return to them (Acts 3: 19-21). Consider also the exciting question at the beginning of the book of Acts: “Lord, art Thou at this time restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (1: 6) The Lord answered evasively… He didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no. Because at that moment it was not for them to know. When Peter, at the end of his life (2 Peter 1: 14) writes his second letter, like a spiritual testament, he looks ahead. He points the laggards to the prophetic writings that would be left by the apostles as eyewitnesses (1: 15). That would be enough as a lamp appearing in a dingy place (1: 19). In chapter 2 Peter, as “apostle of the circumcision”, points to the dramatic developments “among the people (2: 1). Thereby he refers to the Jewish revolt that preceded the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD. In chapter 3 Peter foretells that scoffers will be coming with scoffing and saying, “Where is the promise of His presence?” These scoffers would point out that since the fathers (=the generation of the apostles) ‘were put to repose, all is continuing thus from the beginning of creation’. But then in 3: 8 he writes the following:

Now of this one thing you are not to be oblivious, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

The way in which Peter makes his statement underlines the importance of it. By the accentuation of his opening (“Now of this one thing you are not to be oblivious”), but also by repeating the content (“that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day”). Usually Peter’s remark is interpreted something like: for the Lord time doesn’t exist. But why degrading a precise repeated term to timeless and therewith also meaningless? Why would Peter speak twice about “one day” and twice about “thousand years”? It is even more powerful when we remember the words of Hosea, who foretold that the Lord would return “after two days” and thus “the third day”. This formulation is cryptic as long as we miss what is “one day” for the Lord. But now at the end of his life, Peter explains this with emphasis, this mystery is solved in one go! The Lord will return after two thousand years, while those were for Him as only two days! The coming of the Lord was in Peter’s days near. That is unchanged. But what initially Peter and the other apostles didn’t see (and they were not allowed to! Acts 1: 7), is that the Lord has in mind terms of (two) millennia. The Lórd didn’t postpone anything, He didn’t delay the promise, but by postponing his return He demonstrates his patience.

The Lord is not tardy as to the promise, as some are deeming tardiness, but is patient because of you… -2 Peter 3: 9-

For the real meaning of this patience Peter refers to the apostle Paul. But more about that next time. 1_blog_13MB

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