Knowing this first - Considering this in an especial manner, that those prophets predicted the coming of false teachers: and their being now in the Church proved how clearly they were known to God, and showed the Christians at Pontus the necessity of having no intercourse or connection with them.
There shall come - scoffers - Persons who shall endeavor to turn all religion into ridicule, as this is the most likely way to depreciate truth in the sight of the giddy multitude. The scoffers, having no solid argument to produce against revelation, endeavor to make a scaramouch of some parts; and then affect to laugh at it, and get superficial thinkers to laugh with them.
Walking after their own lusts - Here is the true source of all infidelity. The Gospel of Jesus is pure and holy, and requires a holy heart and holy life. They wish to follow their own lusts, and consequently cannot brook the restraints of the Gospel: therefore they labor to prove that it is not true, that they may get rid of its injunctions, and at last succeed in persuading themselves that it is a forgery; and then throw the reins on the neck of their evil propensities. Thus their opposition to revealed truth began and ended in their own lusts.
There is a remarkable addition here in almost every MS. and version of note: There shall come in the last days, In Mockery, εν εμπαιγμονῃ, scoffers walking after their own lusts. This is the reading of ABC, eleven others, both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Vulgate, and several of the fathers. They come in mockery; this is their spirit and temper; they have no desire to find out truth; they take up the Bible merely with the design of turning it into ridicule. This reading Griesbach has received into the text.
The last days - Probably refer to the conclusion of the Jewish polity, which was then at hand.
Knowing this first - As among the first and most important things to be attended to - as one of the predictions which demand your special regard. Jude Jude 1:18 says that the fact that there would be “mockers in the last time,” had been particularly foretold by thom. It is probable that Peter refers to the same thing, and we may suppose that this was so well understood by all the apostles that they made it a common subject of preaching.
That there shall come in the last days - In the last dispensation; in the period during which the affairs of the world shall be wound up. The apostle does not say that that was the last time in the sense that the world was about to come to an end; nor is it implied that the period called “the last day” might not be a very long period, longer in fact than either of the previous periods of the world. He says that during that period it had been predicted there would arise those whom he here calls “scoffers.” On the meaning of the phrase “in the last days,” as used in the Scriptures, see the Acts 2:17 note; Hebrews 1:2 note; Isaiah 2:2 note.
Scoffers - In Jude Jude 1:18 the same Greek word is rendered “mockers.” The word means those who deride, reproach, ridicule. There is usually in the word the idea of contempt or malignity toward an object. Here the sense seems to be that they would treat with derision or contempt the predictions respecting the advent of the Saviour, and the end of the world. It would appear probable that there was a particular or definite class of men referred to; a class who would hold special opinions, and who would urge plausible objections against the fulfillment of the predictions respecting the end of the world, and the second coming of the Saviour - for those are the points to which Peter particularly refers. It scarcely required inspiration to foresee that there would be “scoffers” in the general sense of the term - for they have so abounded in every age, that no one would hazard much in saying that they would be found at any particular time; but the eye of the apostle is evidently on a particular class of people, the special form of whose reproaches would be the ridicule of the doctrines that the Lord Jesus would return; that there would be a day of judgment; that the world would be consumed by fire, etc. Tillotson explains this of the Carpocratians, a large sect of the Gnostics, who denied the resurrection of the dead, and the future judgment.
While exalting the “sure word of prophecy” as a safe guide in times of peril, the apostle solemnly warned the church against the torch of false prophecy, which would be uplifted by “false teachers,” who would privily bring in “damnable heresies, even denying the Lord.” These false teachers, arising in the church and accounted true by many of their brethren in the faith, the apostle compared to “wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever.” “The latter end is worse with them,” he declared, “than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” AA 535.1
Looking down through the ages to the close of time, Peter was inspired to outline conditions that would exist in the world just prior to the second coming of Christ. “There shall come in the last days scoffers,” he wrote, “walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” But “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Not all, however, would be ensnared by the enemy's devices. As the end of all things earthly should approach, there would be faithful ones able to discern the signs of the times. While a large number of professing believers would deny their faith by their works, there would be a remnant who would endure to the end. AA 535.2
Peter kept alive in his heart the hope of Christ's return, and he assured the church of the certain fulfillment of the Saviour's promise, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” John 14:3. To the tried and faithful ones the coming might seem long delayed, but the apostle assured them: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. AA 536.1Read in context »
The proclamation of a definite time for Christ's coming called forth great opposition from many of all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless, Heaven-daring sinner. The words of prophecy were fulfilled: “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Many who professed to love the Saviour, declared that they had no opposition to the doctrine of the second advent; they merely objected to the definite time. But God's all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not wish to hear of Christ's coming to judge the world in righteousness. They had been unfaithful servants, their works would not bear the inspection of the heart-searching God, and they feared to meet their Lord. Like the Jews at the time of Christ's first advent they were not prepared to welcome Jesus. They not only refused to listen to the plain arguments from the Bible, but ridiculed those who were looking for the Lord. Satan and his angels exulted, and flung the taunt in the face of Christ and holy angels that His professed people had so little love for Him that they did not desire His appearing. GC 370.1
“No man knoweth the day nor the hour” was the argument most often brought forward by rejecters of the advent faith. The scripture is: “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36. A clear and harmonious explanation of this text was given by those who were looking for the Lord, and the wrong use made of it by their opponents was clearly shown. The words were spoken by Christ in that memorable conversation with His disciples upon Olivet after He had for the last time departed from the temple. The disciples had asked the question: “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus gave them signs, and said: “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Verses 3, 33. One saying of the Saviour must not be made to destroy another. Though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near. We are further taught that to disregard His warning, and refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near, will be as fatal for us as it was for those who lived in the days of Noah not to know when the flood was coming. And the parable in the same chapter, contrasting the faithful and the unfaithful servant, and giving the doom of him who said in his heart, “My Lord delayeth His coming,” shows in what light Christ will regard and reward those whom He finds watching, and teaching His coming, and those denying it. “Watch therefore,” He says. “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing.” Verses 42, 46. “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Revelation 3:3. GC 370.2
Paul speaks of a class to whom the Lord's appearing will come unawares. “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, ... and they shall not escape.” But he adds, to those who have given heed to the Saviour's warning: “Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5. GC 371.1Read in context »
Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ's second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God's law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God's moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law. PP 102.1
Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God's word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land? “There is no cause for alarm,” they cry. “Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists.” But this doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness. PP 102.2
As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see the same repeated in our day? While God's servants are giving the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them from the coming destruction. PP 103.1Read in context »