English blog

"the other scriptures" 

22-06-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet


twice “thousand years”

The letter we know as 2 Peter, is the spiritual testament of the apostle Peter. He is aware, as he writes, that “my tabernacle is to be put off swiftly” (1:14). Before this, it is his intention to do his best for those left behind, so they would always have “the present truth” (1:12-15). How could he do this otherwise than by combining the apostolic writings? Although Peter, initially, believed that the kingdom would be revealed in his day (Acts 1:6; 3:19-21), he now knew better. Now he informs his readers that there will come scoffers who will say: “Where is the promise of his coming?” (3:3,4). Peter does not think anymore in terms of years, but millennia (2Petr.3:8). Notably, he twice speaks of thousand years, which for the Lord is the same as two days (cf Hos.6:1-3).

Jewish context

That the second coming did not occur, back then, is not due to tardiness on the part of the Lord (3:9). No, says Peter, it is due to His longsuffering. The Lord waits until all shall come to repentance, that is, until (the rest of) Israel will repent and “all Israel will be saved” (cf Romans 11:26). Please note that Peter is an “apostle of the circumcision” (Gal.2:7) and he directs himself, in this letter, to “the people” (2:1). The Jewish context of the letter is also evident when he, in the second chapter warns of an upcoming “swift destruction” (2:1), thereby referring to the Jewish revolt that would end in the dramatic destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in 70 AD.

our beloved brother Paul

With those turbulent conditions in sight, Peter finally refers to “our beloved brother Paul” (2Pet.3:15), because he, in all his letters (says Peter), writes about the longsuffering of the Lord. And indeed, all of Paul’s ministry is based on Israel’s unbelief (Rom.11:11-15) by which the return of the Lord is hindered. Peter has had difficulty with Paul’s letters (“in it there are some things hard to be understood”; 3:16), but now he refers his readers openly to them. If you want to understand the longsuffering of the Lord, you have to see Paul, says Peter.

Paul’s letters and the other Scriptures

The addressees of Peter had themselves also received a letter from Paul (“… writes to you”). To my knowledge, only the Hebrew letter can be considered for this, because this letter does not mention the author’s name, but strongly suggests that it comes from Paul’s pen (see e.g. Heb.13:23) and is addressed to “the circumcision”. Moreover, Peter refers to “all the letters” by Paul. This means, that these letters were known him also. And to his readers apparently as well, though the letters were apparently controversial among them, because they were being twisted. But Peter regards Paul’s letters extremely highly! This is evident not only from his respectful reference to Paul and his letters, but also from the fact that he reckons them to be part of “the Scriptures.” Peter writes: Paul letters are being twisted as is done also with “the rest of the Scriptures”! Even as the Tanakh (Luke 24:44,45), these Scriptures were “inspired of God” and are needed in order “that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Tim.3:16.17).