With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, but for us one day is like, well, 24 hours… :)


Come back with me to 1973 when Middle East tensions were overflowing and U.S. gas lines ever growing, and most high profile Christian leaders like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Hal Lindsey, assured us that we were experiencing the last days “birth pangs” which was ushering in the end of our planet. God help the pregnant mother or Sabbath traveler, for these days of God’s imminent wrathful outpouring would plunge the entire world into total chaos.

Armageddon, the Beast and the whole of Revelation were being fulfilled before our very eyes. With Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth fresh in mind, the prophetic events were lined up in harmonic convergence as the antichrist was about to be revealed and all Heaven would soon break loose.

In my daily commute down Fletcher Avenue toward USF, I’d often gaze heavenward wondering if this would be THE day… the most highly anticipated DAY since Jesus’s incarnation. Enduring life’s travails not much longer, in a very little while Jesus would descend on the clouds as He’d meet us in the air. How exciting living at a time when Jesus’ long-anticipated return would finally arrive! Two thousand years of pent-up expectations would be fulfilled at last.

Pat Terry, an early 1970’s Christian musician, put it this way in “I Can’t Wait to See Jesus” (listen below).

I can’t wait to see Jesus
In His glory as he bursts from the sky
I can’t wait to be held in his arms,
and see the glimmer in his eye.
I can’t wait to hear trumpets
’cause I know what they mean when they sound
I can’t wait to cast off my burdens,
and feel my feet leave the ground.
I can’t wait to see heaven
and to walk those streets of gold
I can’t wait to check into my mansion,
and get my sleeping bag unrolled.
And just as exhilarating was the chorus which still gives me goosebumps!
Tell me how it’s gonna be,
read it from the Bible again
I can’t wait to see Jesus,
’cause Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again.

In the early to mid AD 60s (not the 1960s), a little more than three decades post cross, the Apostles Peter, John and Paul (whom I believe authored Hebrews) made three very poignant eschatological statements (pertaining to end times/last days): “The end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4:7); “In a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Heb 10:37); and Children it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). So it’s clear that Jesus must be returning soon, right? After all, the end is at hand, isn’t it?

Well, not so fast. This photo was taken only 40 years ago, almost 2,000 years after Peter wrote that verse! And this strikes right at the heart of the eschatological chaos.

The timing of Jesus’ return has wreaked havoc on the Church’s credibility for far too long. Why can’t we get it right? There’s an elephant in the room of our interpretative methods that I ignored back then, and most Christians still ignore today. It’s called “audience  relevance” (primacy of the original audience), and though we occasionally give lip service to it, for the most part, we gloss over it as though we are the audience to whom it was written. There is a sense of egocentricity such that we believe we are at the epicenter of God’s revealed word.

When reading Philippians, Hebrews or Jude, we often forget that we’re reading someone else’s mail i.e. letters and epistles to first century churches. Passing over the realization that these letters were written, delivered by courier and read by Christians nearly 2,000 years ago, appears to be at the root of our eschatological confusion. The fact that the New Testament didn’t arrive on our doorstep with the morning’s paper, may seem patently obvious, but it’s at the core of the most common interpretative mistakes.

This 27 book NT (New Testament) compilation, was not only time sensitive and fully relevant to first-century believers, but if not read in context, cannot be properly understood today. The Bible was penned and preserved for our edification (2 Tim 3:16), but it was NOT written directly TO US. Again, this may seem obviously apparent, but in our constant attempt to make Scriptural application, we often fail to consider the New Testament’s first-century context. And nowhere is this issue more problematic than in our eschatological presuppositions. Remember, the Bible can’t mean what it never meant. So we should be compelled to interpret it in the context of the original recipients. 

Considering the “end is near” sign held by this man above, how could something have been at hand in AD 64 and also at hand in AD 1974? How could “the end of all things” be near then and still be near today?  How could it have been the last hour during the reign of Nero and be our last hour during the presidency of Barack Obama? Unless we have two time continuums, it can’t!  But most of us never consider this huge circus animal with the long trunk, plunked right in the middle of our interpretational reading room.

Have you ever wondered why we attempt to invent so many ways to camouflage the elephant and act as though it doesn’t exist?  I’d be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard an excuse explaining why the NT eschatological time indicators (near, shortly, quickly, at hand etc.) had no relevance at the time they were written. 

The most brilliant disappearing act (which only seems to fool Christians since atheists use it rather effectively as a blunt force tool to bludgeon the unwitting) is constructed using one lone verse from Peter’s second Epistle… which should be noted, was written a year AFTER Peter wrote, “The end of all things is near.” For decades, that fact alone had me scratching my ever-balding head.

So, on the heels of warning them of the imminent end of the Old Covenant age, Peter, we are told, abruptly reversed course and try to cover his tracks when he wrote:

2 Peter 3:8 (NASB) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
For generations, this one tiny verse has been successfully employed to cloak the elephant… arguing that the plethora of “time statements” (associated with Bible prophecy) scattered throughout the NT, aren’t to be taken seriously or literally. After all, they argue, with God time is irrelevant. 
But if this is truly the case, one wonders why the inspired NT authors would have used any near-term time sensitive words. Why wouldn’t Peter have simply written, “The end of all things will one day be at hand”? Why risk the potential confusion caused by the possibility that the persecuted recipients might not realize that near could have meant thousands of years? Can you imagine receiving a letter from this inspired Apostle warning you to be sober-minded because the “end of all things is near”, only to receive a 2nd letter a year later saying, “Just kidding. After all with God time is irrelevant. The scoffers were right and Jesus didn’t hold to His “this generation” time constraint, so never mind.” It this exact kind of prophetic schizophrenia that we insult Peter with. 
I heard one pastor reason, regarding the passage, “Be patient for the coming of the Lord is at hand… the judge is standing at the door” (James 5:8-9), contend that James was merely using inspirational language to exhort believers then and in of all future generations to be vigilant. So whether in AD 314, 1514 or 2014, was James just challenging those in every time period to remain in a steady state of expectancy? Are you beginning to notice the giant pachyderm yet? Is his trunk beginning to knock things off your shelves as it did mine?
Though I realize it wasn’t this dear pastor’s intent, he was effectively implying that God inspired Peter, Paul, John and in this case, James, to lie in order to motivate the beleaguered first century Christians to remain watchful. Is this truly the interpretational road we should be traveling? This is the very definition of situational ethics, where the ends, motivating the persecuted, justifies the means, lying. Is this profoundly dangerous logic beginning to concern you as it did me? Since we mustn’t subscribe to Biblical contradictions, I believe it is absolutely imperative that we treat this problem seriously. 

This dominant end times system which relies on denying that the near term time references are relevant has become so sacrosanct, that to even question any of its underlying tenets, rises to the charge of heresy. However, to ignore the serious issues with a view that has been responsible for error after error seems rather ostrich-like. If you hadn’t considered it before, this argument that God used the same time words in completely different manners depending on their prophetic significance, is dubious at best. Does God  use different weights and measures?  
In other words, if the Greek work tachos which means soon, quickly etc., is assumed to be thousands of years in one verse yet in another it means quickly, we have a problem. 
(Acts 22:18 NASB) and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly [tachos], because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’
Was the Apostle Paul being exhorted to get out of Jerusalem whenever he felt like at some time during his lifetime? Or was he told to get out of Jerusalem right away?
(Acts 12:7  NASB) And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly [tachos].” And his chains fell off his hands.
When the angel told to “get up quickly” was Peter supposed to take his time because, after all, a day to the Lord is as a thousand years? This would be absurd. So then when coming to the next passage which contains the same Greek word, how would you handle it? 

(Revelation 1:1,3 NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon [tachos] take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,… 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near [eggus]

Can we with any degree of intellectual honesty, assume that “things which must take place soon” that it could be thousands of years? And notice verse 3 as John followed up with “the time is near”. Time doesn’t permit but we could also do a word study on “eggus” and see how it’s used throughout the NT. I can tell you that every time, without exception, that eggus, whether in an apocalyptic verse or not, always is means near. But, what I’ve found sad is that Christians have developed this elasticizing hermeneutic of time sensitive words to the point when, if you contend that they should be interpreted consistently you will get push back.
Case in point. At a Bible study a number of years ago, after I offered an interpretation of Matthew 24 that was consistent with the imminent eschatological “time statements” (like Rev 1:1,3 above), the leader simply said, “We can’t go there. We can’t go there.” Case closed. No discussion allowed. Censorship at its finest.
But the question that wasn’t answered then and remains outstanding today, is, why can’t we go there? It wasn’t as if I was questioning the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or any of the non-negotiable tenets of our faith. I simply offered an historically-based eschatological explanation that fit the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24; Luke 17; Mk 13) like a glove. Jesus said emphatically that “all these things” (the temple’s dissolution, wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earth quakes, apostasy, the abomination of desolation, false Christs etc.) must happen within a generation. And after explaining using credible historical sources that everything happened well within a generation (40 years) of Jesus’s declaration, with no further dialogue allowed, I was simply asked, for the sake of peace and unity, to censure myself. 

Is this a truly healthy way to deal with these eschatological differences? Clearly, we need to always be respectful and courteous toward one another, but to cut off dialogue at a Bible study, seems less than prudent. If we were as passionate about truth as we are of avoiding disagreement, we might not be in this mess. And few would argue with a straight face that the current eschatological landscape is not in need of a gross overhaul. The elephant hasn’t budged!

So when Jesus said, This generation will not pass away until all these things take place”, arguing that Jesus was actually referring to a far distant generation, is not any more Berean-like than censuring dialogue. Sadly, this mindset is far too typical. Being a respectful Berean is not well tolerated if one offers another point of view that holds our feet to the Scriptural fire. At this point, you may think that phrases such as “things that must shortly take place”… for “the time is near”, simply cannot mean what they appear to mean. But don’t fall for that trap. If we aren’t willing to let the Bible speak for itself without reading our presuppositions into it, how will we ever know that we have the truth?
Many feel justified in questioning the political structure of the Roman Catholic Church and its top-down hierarchical structure that squelches debate, but is the Protestant Church really that much different? Cancelling make come more from a local level in the church, but it’s still just as effective in shutting down opposition. 

At this point, I need to be crystal clear. Make no mistake, I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God as explained in the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. And only in that context must these things be challenged. God is neither the author of confusion nor deception and His Word is not enveloped in smoke and mirrors. God doesn’t use words arbitrarily maintaining opposite meanings. If near means near in one passage, it simply cannot mean a very long time in another. This method is decidedly dishonest. And hopefully, once you reach this article’s conclusion, you will, at the very least, have a new appreciation for the uncanny accuracy of God’s prophetic Word. Above all, I want to exalt the miraculous nature of the Bible, not tear it down. So, with that as a backdrop, let’s trudge on.
Before looking at five potential scenarios regarding the interpretation of these many eschatologically time sensitive phrases, let me pose a question for contemplation. If time was irrelevant in the manner in which God always communicates with man, why then did He ONLY inspire the NT authors to use words of imminence? In other words, why don’t we find even one NT phrase like that used by Daniel, “many days yet to come” (Daniel 8:26)? Why do the NT authors ONLY couch prophecy in imminent terms if fulfillment wasn’t for 2 millennia into the future? I hope you realize that we’re dealing with the heart of biblical inspiration. 

In the OT, we find statements of both nearness and distance. Daniel’s many days yet to come is contrasted with Isaiah’s the day of the Lord is near. Time mattered to the OT prophets, so why do we presume that God stopped communicating clearly and in ways that can be understood? Why, if all mysteries since the foundation of the world were revealed in the person of Christ (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26), would the NT time statements be seemingly clouded in subterfuge?  
Now, consider this stark contrast between an Old and New Testament prophetic use of time.
Daniel 8:26 (NKJV) “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future.”
Revelation 22:10 (NKJV) And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Do you see the issue? Daniel was told to seal up the vision because it was “many days in the future” and John was told not to seal up the vision because “the time is near”. What’s going on here? If Daniel’s prophecy was hundreds of years from fulfillment, sealing the vision would seem natural since he/they wouldn’t have been able to understand the context of its fulfillment. However, since most today believe the Revelation’s fulfillment is still future (after nearly 2,000 years), why then was John told to keep it unsealed? And, further, how could the time of fulfillment have been near in the first century? 

Doesn’t this unnerve you even a little bit? At this point, most of us throw our hands in the air and assume that if the experts with years of education can’t come to a consensus, what hope do we have? But the truth is that paradigm, not intelligence, is the greatest obstacle to understanding Bible prophecy. Most of us have developed errant presuppositions that force us to challenge God’s ability to communicate accurately. 

So once we begin to consider the fact that God may have communicated clearly and unambiguously, we can start to deconstruct the false components of our interpretational paradigm. As I mentioned earlier, quite a few year ago I chose that path deciding that it was time to question this apparent contradiction that “at hand” or “in a very little while” actually meant thousands of years.
Therefore, shouldn’t we wonder why, if time is supposedly irrelevant to God, He would inspire these men to associate their visions with time?  And further, why would these various OT prophetic pronouncements have been fulfilled according to their time-sensitive dictates, if they weren’t anchored to chronological reality? Not surprisingly, the prophecies of Daniel and Isaiah were fulfilled like clockwork. Daniel’s “many days yet to come” was fulfilled hundreds of years in the future, and Isaiah’s “the day of the Lord is near was fulfilled imminently as the Medes dispensed with the Babylonians in Isaiah’s day.

Now that the elephant is in plain view, let’s deal head-on with the potential explanations for the NT eschatological imminence. Anyone reading through the NT even once has been bombarded with these near-term expectations. Although this list may not be exhaustive, it covers 5 major possibilities. Admittedly, explanation #3 seemed too outrageous to include, but because I just heard a pastor use it, I decided to give it a critical review. As you read through the five, choose which one best fits your explanation.

  1. God the Father knew Jesus’s return was thousands of year’s future, but for motivational purposes, He chose to communicate imminence. (2 Peter 3:8)
  2. God the Father didn’t know when Jesus would return. Matter of fact, He also didn’t know that the Jews would reject Christ and that He would therefore have to resort to a plan B, the Church.  (A Dispensationalist view)
  3. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but chose only to communicate the speed in which Jesus would return with no regard to the timing. (translates “tachos” in Revelation 1:1 as lightning quick speed not soon or shortly. In other words, Jesus could wait thousands of years before He acted but then when He began carrying out His last days plans, He would do it at the speed of light. 
  4. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but Jesus, in his humanity, was unaware of not only the day and hour but also of the millennium in which He would return. (C.S. Lewis’s conundrum)
  5. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and unambiguously and accurately communicated the imminence of Christ’s return through both Jesus and the NT authors. While on earth, Jesus didn’t know the exact day or hour of His coming, but He knew the generation. (Fulfilled view)

Which one do you think is the most Biblical? As you consider these various explanations, you may immediately notice the following pitfalls found in these possibilities. 

  • God is not sovereign because His plans are contingent upon the actions of His free moral agents. Therefore, God is reactive not proactive. And, if God didn’t know that Jesus would be rejected due to man’s free will, why would anyone think that the Jews might reject their Messiah again and again? 
  • Because of Jesus’ human limitations, God was not able to communicate everything with Him clearly. This poses serious issues within the Trinity. 
  • Due to God’s timeless nature, He was unable to communicate accurate time-sensitive predictions with His followers. Because God is above and beyond time, His references to time are ambiguous. Again, this questions the omniscience and sovereignty of God. 
  • God intentionally misled His beleaguered followers because He determined that it was more important to motivate them in their times of distress than to tell them the truth. Now we’re in very deep, shark-infested waters! 
  • Since Jesus’ return in the minds of most is marked by the obliteration of our planet at time’s end, how could Peter’s words “the end of all things is near” possibly be true? If Jesus was prophesiying solely about the end of the space time continuum, then clearly Peter was mistaken. Again, this challenges biblical inerrancy and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

Most Christians opt for explanation #1 (God knew the day and the hour was thousands of years future but chose to convey imminence) without fully considering the serious implications, some of which we’ve already explored. Sugarcoat it all we want, the truth is that if God knew Jesus’ return wasn’t going to be imminent, but He nonetheless inspired every New Testament author to write that it was imminent, this is simply a lie. We can make up pithy excuses but this is the bottom line. 

Yes, I realize that this probably makes you as uncomfortable as it did me, but this reality must be confronted if we have any prayer of being intellectually honest as we rightly attempt to handling God’s Word. God is not the author of lies and/or misdirection. If even one of an eschatological system’s interpretational building blocks presumes God to be a liar, the whole edifice crumbles.

Hebrews 6:18 (NASB) so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 

Titus 1:2 (NASB) in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,

Numbers 23:19 (NASB) God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 

The atheist who put the below video together, attacks Christians and Christianity at this very point. The vast majority of believers have heard the time is irrelevant to God excuse for so long, they are oblivious to its absurdity. But we must, no matter how emotionally taxing, be prepared to answer the atheist… as well as the confused Christians for that matter.

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;  
So we can continue to use 2 Peter 3:8 to cloak the elephant, but the fact remains that the integrity of the Bible is hanging in the balance and the elephant isn’t going anywhere. Heavily persecuted 1st century Christ-followers were clinging to the imminent hope of deliverance, and if we assume they were lied to by creating false expectations, we’re playing right into the hands of the atheists. And lest we forget, when stalwarts of the Gospel like the Apostle Paul wrote things like the following, they were received by real people who were eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus: “The time is short…for the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:29-31), “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11), and “The Lord is near” (Phil 4:5).
In the light of being repeatedly told that these events were imminent, how do you think these AD 60s believers would have responded to Peter’s second epistle, if 2 Peter 3:8 was supposed to wash away all their time-sensitive expectations? “Really, Peter? If time is of no consequence, why have we received a steady diet of near-term promises from all the inspired writers?  And Why in the world did you write, “The end of all things is near” if you had no clue when Jesus would return?” 

Consider this analogy to help drive the point home. Your garage just caught fire and after calling 911, the dispatcher tells you that the fire trucks are on the way and will be there shortly. Would you sing the fire department’s praises if they never arrived and your house burned to the ground? Would it make your misery any less profound to find out that those trucks were not only never dispatched, but there was never any intent to send them? 

How would you have reacted to the following excuse from the fire department? “We often get busy, and in our line of work, for us a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is but a day. Time is really of no consequence to us.”  Seriously, how would you respond to that excuse? Perhaps a logical reaction might be, “That’s incredibly cruel for giving us false hope. Why would you have said you’d be there soon if you had no such intention?” Is God less caring than a poorly run local fire squad?

How is this scenario any different from explanation #1? How utterly cruel would it have been for God to have promised near-term rescue and vindication if He never had the slightest intention of fulfilling His promises?

Approx. two decades ago as this kind of eschatological confusion began weighing heavily upon my faith, I subtly started to distrust the Bible. At the onset it wasn’t all that overt, but it, in consort with some other nagging issues, became profoundly debilitating. 

If this was in fact the way God treated His first-century followers whose lives were in constant peril, then I wondered about His faithfulness to me. In other words, if the ones who received the short-term promises were intentionally jilted, why should I have any confidence that God would be faithful to me and my family in the light of me never receiving such promises? I’m happy to report that I finally worked through this intense struggle, but not before undergoing a significant eschatological paradigm change that began at this very point. 
And lest we not realize how intense the first century anticipatory hopes were, let’s look at the eager expectation that the Apostle Paul recognized among his readers. “…to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb 9:28); awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor 1:7); “…from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” (Phil 3:20); “…waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:23)
Since we know that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, how sick and weary is the body of Christ after 2,000 years of this kind of unfulfilled expectation…if in fact we presume that Jesus’s coming was as it has been characterized, speaking of the world’s end (and not the end of the age)?
So, if Peter was inspired to write 2 Peter 3:8 to placate the scoffers who insisted Jesus was not only late but He would never return, then why a year earlier would Peter have written, “The end of all things is at hand”?  Was Peter truly in effect saying, “All bets are off fellas, I was wrong? When I wrote you my first letter I really didn’t mean the end was imminent, because, after all, God’s timing is not our timing.”
Consider Peter’s other statements carrying imminence lest we think 1 Peter 4:7 was a red herring:
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
1 Peter 4:5 (NKJV) but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead 
1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV) For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 5:1 (YLT) Elders who are among you, I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and of the glory about to be revealed a partaker,
2 Peter 3:11-12 (NKJV) Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
As we read through all these statements implying imminent expectation which should have been weighing heavily upon their conduct, does it make sense that Peter was attempting to use the “time is irrelevant” argument against the scoffers? Was he really waving a magic wand at all of the eschatological time references throughout the NT (many written by him), attempting to make them disappear? If this was the intent of 2 Peter 3:8, then the following is an addendum that could have been attached to Peter’s 2nd epistle.
“I know Jesus told us that He would come before we finished going through the cities of Israel (Matt 10:23), while some of us were still alive (Matt 16:28) and all within a generation (Matt 24:34), but we all know that time is relative in God’s economy. At the time I wrote that first letter warning you of our near-term end, I actually believed that the end was very near. But then the Holy Spirit brought Psalm 90:4 to mind, telling me that “near” to God could be very far off to us.
“Now, I realize how incredibly confusing this may be and that it may appear like an excuse… so, since many may have been misled by my first epistle which was riddled with imminent expectations, I simply have to set the record straight and get the word out to all those who are actually anticipating Jesus’ soon return. I must correct the errant presumptions that I and others have created. Many of you persecuted believers who received letters from James, John and Paul, are losing your lives and I don’t want to give you false hope. And to be quite frank, no help is coming. Yes, in some other distant generation many days from now, but no rescue is planned in your lifetime.
“I realize that the Apostle Paul promised our embattled Thessalonian brothers vindication, but I now realize that He was referring only to their metaphorical absolution at the end of time. Even though he said he would give relief to YOU, he wasn’t really speaking directly to the Thessalonians, but actually only to those living in a time many days to come.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (NASB) For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict youand to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
“Further, it must be that when Jesus spoke of the eschatological end within “this generation” while some of his larger contingency was still alive, He must have been communicating allegorically. He had to have meant “that generation” or “some distant generation” even though for emphasis sake He prefaced “this generation” with “Truly I say to you.” I realize that Jesus never used time metaphorically and that the Bible has never allegorilized time (and God expressly prohibited it in Ezek 12:21-28), but since Jesus is God, and God is not bound by time, that’s really what He must have meant. After all, He made those definitive statements while still restricted by His humanity.
“So, the scoffers have every right to scoff because they are correct. It’s been 34 years since Jesus said,“this generation will not pass away until ALL of these things are fulfilled,” and the truth is that His return is nowhere in sight. Jesus won’t be coming in the time all of us expected.
“Therefore, in the future, though we must admit that their scoffing is justifiable, as long as we don’t take any of the time constraints literally, we will negate their vain attempts to discredit Jesus’ words. So whether God says something is going to happen either near or far, well, we just can’t hold God to this kind of human standard. 

Yes, I realize that means there’s no true test for a prophet since all prophets are exempt from these kinds of time restrictions, but these are harsh realities that must be conveyed…lest the scoffers continue to repeat their accusations charging Jesus and the rest of us as false prophets. So move along and be about your business to love the Lord. And remember, when God says renders a time-sensitive declaration , He may or may not do it within the time He specifies. It’s His divine prerogative!”
Do you see how ludicrous this excuse is when it is broken down and exposed? Does God really need us apologizing for Him? In an attempt to do the opposite, those who interpret 2 Peter 3:8 in this manner, do nothing but assault the integrity of God’s Word and accentuate His unfaithfulness. It strikes at the heart of inspiration. I truly can’t think of a more abused and heavily manipulated verse than 2 Peter 3:8. So, since I hope it is clear to you that option #1 is simply not viable, let’s move on to the other possibilities.
Explanation #2 (God the Father didn’t know when Jesus would return) proves that God is not ultimately sovereign. If God is subject to the whims of His creation, and has no idea what they will do, He clearly is not sovereign. Some dispensationalists have argued that the prophetic time clock stopped when the Jews rejected Christ, only to be restarted when Israel became a nation in ‘48. This excuse is so riddled with problems that I don’t have time to deal with them here.
Suffice it to say, I hope you reject any option that denies God’s sovereignty. He never resorts to a plan B. What I find truly baffling is that those who hold this view apparently haven’t stopped to realize that if we, as free moral agents, could stop the prophetic clock once, we can do it again and again. Once man is elevated to this kind of supremacy, God is relegated to position of inferiority. 

So how could any prophet declare a prophetic event if it can always be short-circuited by non-compliant men? What would have happened if the Medes had chosen not to comply with God’s sovereign plan and therefore never attacked the Babylonians? Wouldn’t that have made Isaiah a false prophet? I realize how ludicrous this 3rd explanation is, but I felt it was necessary to include it since people actually believe it. If you have to become an open theist to support your dispensational views, something is seriously wrong. 
Explanation #3 God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and only communicated how fast it would be, with no regard to the timing. This one appears even more outrageous than the God can’t tell time option.  Recently I heard a pastor who began a new series on the book of Revelation, espouse this very point. How did he arrive at this conclusion you ask? He began with Revelation 1:1 and instead of translating “tachos” as “soon”, he said it meant “really fast”.
Revelation 1:1 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon (tachos) take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 
So, according to this view, the timing of the Revelation was never in plain view. God was apparently telling John that, once these things began to take place, Jesus would return with lightning quick speed. Tachos (where we get tachometer) can, in fact, mean the speed in which something is executed, but, based upon the context of all its usages, this is not primarily how the word is used throughout the New Testament. It always refers to the duration of time and not the speed. Also, it must be noted that all words must be interpreted in context. All one has to do is drop down two verses to realize that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed of execution and everything to do with the timing of the events. I’ll come back to that thought in a moment.
Consider the parable of the widow and her persistence in obtaining legal protection from the ruthless judge. Though this parable clearly concerns prayer, many have missed its eschatologically-based subject matter. This “end times” parable, referenced “the elect” who would cry to the Lord for justice against their oppressors. Pay particular attention to the timing of the promised vindication as well as the usage of tachos.
Luke 18:7-8 (NASB) now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly (tachos). However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 
Is there an interpreter on the planet (who isn’t trying to sell their stash of Left Behind books) who actually believes “quickly” means, that when God finally gets around to avenging His elect, he’ll do it really fast?  In other words, once God began His avenging, He was supposedly going to do it faster than a speeding bullet? 🙂 But this simply doesn’t fit the context of the parable. Jesus’s use of quickly (or some translations render it “speedily”, is in reference to the time of “delay” mentioned in verse 7. Would God continue to delay forever? No, He would bring about justice soon! He doesn’t wait 2,000 years and then do it really fast. I truly can’t believe I’m having to deal with this argument.
What value would it have been to the elect for Jesus to have delayed a few thousand years after they were dead and gone and then vindicated them with amazing speed when it didn’t matter? I think it’s clear from the context that this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with “How fast?” and everything to do with “How long?”
Notice the same theme in Revelation 6’s opening of the fifth seal. This question of “How long?” is reiterated by the martyred souls who are under the altar. This scene is depicted some 32 years after the Olivet, not 65 years as too many presume. (Those who believe the Revelation was written in the mid AD 90s, please go HERE. There is far too much internal and external evidence which points to an early to mid AD 60s date)  
The following passage is a recapitulation of the above parable, but at that moment in the vision it was only a short time from fulfillment. The saints had already been martyred.
Revelation 6:9-11 (NASB) When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
During the Olivet, the plight of these souls who had suffered severe persecution to the point of death had already been predicted.
Matthew 24:9 (NASB) “Then they will deliver YOU to tribulation, and will kill YOU, and YOU will be hated by all nations because of My name.
So, again, the outstanding question is, “How long, Jesus? The dead saints were under the altar asking how long before their blood would be avenged. And what was Jesus’ answer? “When I come it’s going to be really fast!” No, that’s not at all what was promised. Jesus said only “a little while longer”! And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed of Jesus’s return and everything to do with the time before the martyrs would be avenged. “A little while longer” cannot possibly be misconstrued with the speed of the avenging.
The “How long?” answer has staggering implications which are totally ignored in the various versions of Leftbehindology. In Circa AD 62 (the approx. date of the Revelation), Jesus told them how long until their avenging (shortly), yet instead of believing Him, some attempt to change the plain meaning of words simply to conform the Bible to their paradigm.
Nobody was asking how fast they would be avenged. Waiting a little while is not a function of speed but of time. I don’t mean to be condescending or mean-spirited, but how can anyone read Revelation 1:1 and believe that Jesus is ignoring the “How long?” question and answering “How fast?”. For the sake of redundancy lest we lose focus, let’s look at the text one more time.
Revelation 1:1 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon (tachos) take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
It must take place FAST? For those who adhere to this interpretation, let me ask you a question. Why would it have been important for Jesus to have said how fast He was going to avenge the martyred saints? Was Jesus correcting their understanding? Did they think He was going to return slowly? If there has already been a 2,000 year delay, what difference would it make how fast Jesus returns? So, even if one could finagle “tachos” to mean speed, how in the heavens can one cram the speed of His return into verse 3?
Revelation 1:3 (NASB) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (eggus)
There’s no possibility whatsoever that one can force eggus to fit into this speed motif. It simply means “the time is near”. So at this point, hopefully you will reject this 3rd excuse as well. As an aside, the pastor whom I mentioned earlier, never dealt with the imminence in verse 3. I wonder why? Perhaps he couldn’t fit it into his 2,000 year delay but really fast model. 

So, on we trudge to explanation #4, forever attempting to find yet another way to disguise the elephantGod the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but Jesus, in his humanity, was unaware of not only the day and hour but also the millennium in which He would return.

Jesus’s “no man knows the day or the hour” statement, has been so thoroughly exaggerated and contorted that what people say it means bears no resemblance to reality. How can neither knowing the day nor the hour be used to argue that no one would have a clue within centuries or millennia of Jesus’s return? As a matter of fact, during Jesus’ entire Olivet monologue, since Jesus specifically answered the disciple’s when question, why do we continue to insist that Jesus had no clue of the timing? In a recent blog post, “The End of the Beginning”, I thoroughly dealt with this issue and put to bed the notion that Jesus had no idea when He would return. Please take time to read it. I think we do the Bible injustice by propagating this myth. 
So, for the sake of brevity, I won’t deal in great detail with this false assumption here. Suffice it to say, the disciples asked Jesus one basic question which had 3 components, not three separate, unrelated questions (as some have insisted). And they got one very detailed answer culminating in a specific time frame. After Jesus told the twelve that the massive temple complex would be utterly obliterated (“not one stone left upon another”), the natural question was, “When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3)
Why is it that so many appear to either miss or ignore Jesus’s very first sentence of explanation? It set the tone for everything that was to follow. What was it? Did Jesus immediately begin detailing the litany of events that would follow? No. He offered a simple warning that, in and of itself, set the timing of fulfillment.
“See to it that no one misleads YOU.”  Wait a minute! Do you see the issue? How many times have you heard pastors and teachers say that the things contained in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation are still future to us? If that’s the case, what difference would it have made to them? If “all these things” pertained to a distant generation removed from the immediate context by 2,000 years, what relevance would any of it had on the disciples? As we hearken back to Daniel’s vision, there was never any concern that Daniel be misled. Why? Because the prophesied events would take place well after Daniel was pushing up daisies. So the mere fact that Jesus warns His followers about being misled, tells you when those things were expected to occur.
The truth is that everything Jesus said was absolutely vital to the disciples because it applied directly to them and their generation. That’s why He cautioned them to be diligent so they wouldn’t be misled.
Matthew 24:34 (NASB) “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
I’d say that’s a rather emphatic time-sensitive answer, wouldn’t you? So, again, how is it so many pastors try to argue that not knowing the exact day and hour is equivalent to not having a remote idea within a few millennia? The answer is actually rather simple. They don’t like or understand the implications. So just like they attempt to explain away the meaning of “soon”, “shortly” and “at hand”, they play all kinds of extracurricular games with the above verse. C.S. Lewis called it the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. And for good reason, if none of the events outlined in the Olivet actually transpired within that first century generation.
Just before Jesus finished detailing the events that would take place within that generation, He offered the following analogy of the fig tree (Luke adds “and all the trees” lest you think this is a prophecy about the nation of Israel).
Matthew 24:32-33 (NASB) “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when YOU see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
It’s true that Jesus never knew the day nor the hour of His return while He was living on planet earth, but as can be seen above, if His disciples were to “see all these things” and be able to “recognize that He is near, right at the door”, He clearly knew far more than He is credited to have known. In approx. 3 decades, James would corroborate those very words when he wrote:
James 5:8-9 (NASB) YOU too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is nearDo not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, nothing will. Yes, the implication may startle you, but it is certainly contrary to what C.S. Lewis wrote in “The World’s Last Night. “He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”   

Jesus was not only not wrong, but when He was sitting at the right hand of the Father after His ascension, He knew the day and the hour of His return and He revealed to John that the contents of His vision would soon take place because the time was near. So, don’t let C.S. Lewis, your pastor or anyone else convince you that Jesus didn’t have a clue when He would return.

Well, that leaves us with explanation #5: God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and unambiguously and accurately communicated the imminence of Christ’s return through both Jesus and the NT authors. While on earth, Jesus didn’t know the day or hour of His coming, but He knew the generation. After His ascension He knew how short the time really was.
I’ve not found too many who aren’t at first extremely uncomfortable with this possibility, especially since it shatters their paradigm and means that “all these things” had to have taken place within that generation. It strikes at the heart of so many issues that most simply refuse to seriously consider it. So they limp back to option #1 in full knowledge that, untenable as it is, many others believe it so it must somehow have merit.
Let me offer one more word of caution from Ezekiel 12 lest you still cling to one of those first four explanations. 
Ezekiel 12:21-23 (NASB) 21 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails‘? 23 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.” But tell them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. 
God was sick and tired of Israel constantly distorting His time sensitive promises. He would tell them that something was about to happen and they would ignore Him and say, “the days are long and every vision fails”.  They were incessantly thumbing their noses at God just like spoiled children saying that though God said things were near, they were actually very far off. Sound familiar? Isn’t this today’s approved interpretational method?
For this reason, God, in diametric opposition, said, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision.”  They were trying to use the old “a day is as a thousand years”to God, slight of hand. And God would not stand for their excuses. He became angry because they weren’t heeding His timely edicts.
Ezekiel 12:24-25 (NASB) “For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 “For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord GOD.'”
God said that whatever He spoke would take place in the time span predicted.  “It will no longer be delayed”!  This was decried by God almost 700 years before the birth of Christ.  Yet, what do most Christians say today about the plethora of time sensitive prophesies in the NT, ALL of which are accompanied by these time sensitive words like “shortly”, “at hand”, “soon” and “in a very little while”?
“Hath God really said?”  Sounds kind of like the serpent, doesn’t it?  God supposedly didn’t really mean shortly, soon or at hand when speaking of his coming, for He was speaking in His own eternal timelessness. Even writing this sardonically makes me tremble. The only way to judge a false prophet was to decide whether what they predicted took place in the time period predicted. If the timing of the prophecy was to be summarily ignored because time was irrelevant, then how could anyone claiming to speak for God be deemed a false prophet? If a prophet said something was going to happen soon and it didn’t, all hell broke loose against them. So it’s clear that the timing of a prophecy is every bit as important as the nature of what was predicted. But you wouldn’t know it by the way we interpret the Bible today.
Are we unwittingly calling these NT authors false prophets by assuming their prophesies have been delayed thousands of years? I have been wrong about many things throughout my life, but one thing seems abundantly clear, “will not delay” and “must take place shortly” simply cannot mean anything other than what they imply. This “God can’t tell time” mantra is striking at the very nature of God’s inspired Word and is unintentionally challenging God’s faithfulness.  Notice what God says next as he spoke through Ezekiel
Ezekiel 12:2-28 (NASB)Furthermore, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed,”‘” declares the Lord GOD. 

Could God have been any more redundantly emphatic?  It seems that God was sending a very clear message that His prophesies would come to pass in the exact time they were predicted. So how is it that the accepted eschatology of our day is in such direct contradiction to these words given toEzekiel?

Our last order of business is to deal directly with the context of 2 Peter 3:8. Two things are usually missed. One has to do with considering only half the verse and the other regards the very next verse. 

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years,and a thousand years like one dayThe Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

If we take this verse to mean that “shortly” can mean thousands of years, then we must consider the fact that in the second part of the verse it would turn Daniel’s “many days yet to come” into less than one day.  

So, in other words, any reference to time (near means far and far means near) would be so ambiguous that it would have no relevance whatsoever. Is that truly what Peter is arguing? Should Daniel have expected the things that would not happen for “many days yet to come” to occur “shortly”? I don’t know how else to say it, but this is simply ludicrous and makes a complete mockery of God’s Word.

If we consider the context of Second Peter, it had been approx 34 years since Jesus’s emphatic statement that He would return in a generation. Time was running out and the scoffers were mocking the fact that, since it had been so LONG (since Jesus made that statement), it was clear (to them) that Jesus wasn’t going to ever return. The scoffers were fully aware of the stated timing of the Lord’s parousia.

So Peter was in effect saying, “Listen fellas, yes, this generation is coming to a close, but the fact is that Jesus is still right on schedule.” The Temple is still standing and my judgment upon this wicked and perverse generation is not far off. That’s why Peter followed with “The Lord is not SLOW” to fulfill His promises.” If Peter was arguing the way most have interpreted 2 Peter 3:8, he would have said, “The Lord is not FAST” to fulfill all that He promised. 

Peter wasn’t hedging his bets. He was all in. He was fully convinced that the end of all things was even nearer than they were when he wrote his first epistle a year earlier. He knew that the timely vindication of the martyrs was absolutely crucial to the integrity of God’s prophetic word.
I think there’s something very wrong when those who actually believe God are censured and considered heretical, while those in the mainstream Church are deemed “orthodox”. The first century Jews missed the timing of Jesus’s incarnation because they didn’t understand the nature of His first coming. Is it possible that 21st century Christians are making the same mistake with regard to Jesus’w coming in judgment because we are confused as to the nature of His coming?

There are those who have so flippantly and ignorantly mocked people for believing that God can tell time and God did fulfill His promises like clockwork. My hope is that they will realize the implications of their scoffing. The people holding their eschatological feet to the fire are not the problem. So bent on holding on their view, they are unwittingly scoffing at the faithfulness of God. If the first-century scoffers gained traction and provoked Peter’s rebuke because it had been 34 years and Jesus was late, how should those who believe that Jesus is 1,984 years late and counting view their own unbelief? Because that’st he crux of the matter. Faith to believe that no matter how it seems because of the confusion, that God was abundantly faithful to His beleaguered first-century followers.

So how could we have possibly gone this far afield where up is down and left is right? I realize that the implications make us uncomfortable. However, shouldn’t our end game be to exalt and honor the integrity and the inspiration of God’s Word rather than to merely attempt to preserve our eschatological presuppositions?
Lastly, consider the words of two renowned 19th century theologians as they considered the 2 peter 3:8 excuse.  First from Milton S. Terry:

The language is a poetical citation from Psalm 90:4, and is adduced to show that the lapse of time does not invalidate the promises of God. . . . But this is very different from saying that when the everlasting God promises something shortly, and declares that it is close at hand, He may mean that it is a thousand years in the future. Whatever He has promised indefinitely He may take a thousand years or more to fulfill; but what He affirms to be at the door let no man declare to be far away. ((Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974), 406.) Originally written in 1883)

And now let’s read what J. Stuart Russell had to say

Few passages have suffered more from misconstruction than this, which has been made to speak a language inconsistent with its obvious intention, and even incompatible with a strict regard to veracity.

There is probably an allusion here to the words of the Psalmist, in which he contrasts the brevity of human life with the eternity of the divine existence. . . . But surely it would be the height of absurdity to regard this sublime poetic image as a calculus for the divine measurement of time, or as giving us a warrant for wholly disregarding definitions of time in the predictions and promises of God.

Yet it is not unusual to quote these words as an argument or excuse for the total disregard for the element of time in the prophetic writings. Even in cases where a certain time is specified in the prediction, or where such limitations as ‘shortly,’ or ‘speedily,’ or ‘at hand’ are expressed, the passage before us is appealed to in justification of an arbitrary treatment of such notes of time, so that soon may mean late, and near may mean distant, and short may mean long, and vice versa. . . .

It is surely unnecessary to repudiate in the strongest manner such a non-natural method of interpreting the language of Scripture. It is worse than ungrammatical and unreasonable, it is immoral. It is to suggest that God has two weights and measures in His dealings with men, and that in His mode of reckoning there is an ambiguity and variableness which will make it impossible to tell ‘What manner of time the Spirit of Christ in the prophets may signify’[cf. 1 Pet. 1:11]…

The Scriptures themselves, however, give no countenance to such a method of interpretation. Faithfulness is one of the attributes most frequently ascribed to the ‘covenant-keeping God,’ and the divine faithfulness is that which the apostle in this very passage affirms. . . . The apostle does not say that when the Lord promises a thing for today He may not fulfill His promise for a thousand years: that would be slackness; that would be a breach of promise. He does not say that because God is infinite and everlasting, therefore He reckons with a different arithmetic from ours, or speaks to us in a double sense, or uses two different weights and measures in His dealings with mankind. The very reverse is the truth. . . .

It is evident that the object of the apostle in this passage is to give his readers the strongest assurance that the impending catastrophe of the last days were on the very eve of fulfillment. The veracity and faithfulness of God were the guarantees of the punctual performance of the promise. To have intimated that time was a variable quantity in the promise of God would have been to stultify and neutralize his own teaching, which was that ‘the Lord is not slack concerning His promise.’ ((J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, [1887] 1983), 321ff. Owen, “Providential Changes: An Argument for Universal Holiness,” 134–35.))

A number of years ago, after finally acknowledging the elephant in the room, I determined that the song I began this blog with, would have been more appropriately sung by those heavily persecuted AD 60s Christians who were promised near-term vindication and heavenly glorification. Their endurance was about to be rewarded. And they could not wait to see Jesus!
I can’t wait to see Jesus
In His glory as he bursts from the sky
I can’t wait to be held in his arms,
and see the glimmer in his eye.
I can’t wait to hear trumpets
’cause I know what they mean when they sound
I can’t wait to cast off my burdens,
and feel my feet leave the ground.
I can’t wait to see heaven
and to walk those streets of gold
I can’t wait to check into my mansion,
and get my sleeping bag unrolled.
Tell me how it’s gonna be,
read it from the Bible again
I can’t wait to see Jesus,
’cause Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again.
1 John 3:2 (NASB) Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NASB) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Philippians 3:21 (NASB) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NASB)Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.Romans 8:18 (YLT) For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us; Did you know that there is historical precedent for all these things taking place in and around AD 66 leading up to the destruction of the Temple in the fall of AD 70?

In closing, think about this. If God was not faithful to THEM (persecuted 1st century Christians who were promised near term vindication), why do you think He will be faithful to YOU. If we so frivolously disregard the plain meanings of biblically inspired words simply to fit our eschatological preconceptions, how can we expect to look the liberal Bible critics in the eye? You may think this is about eschatology, but the fact is there’s a whole lot more at stake. This is a fight for the inspiration and integrity of Bible.For those who continue to insist that near can mean farandsooncan meanmany days in the future, I’ll leave you with this famous quote from a former president. It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’, is. Hold on to your eschatology if you must, but please stop using 2 Peter 3:8 to hide the elephant. He’s making quite a mess of our interpretational reading rooms and he’s severely compromising the credibility of God’s infallible Word.

p.s. If you truly want to see how the world sees us through the lens of our eschatological failings, check out the following from an atheist blog review of Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth. I don’t condone their conclusions, but I think they make some valid points that we all should consider.

If you’d like a straightforward Biblical answer to the seeming conundrum I’ve presented here, I would highly recommend Christian Hope Through Fulfilled Eschatology. Written by friend and PCA Elder, Charles Meek, this very readable and well argued eschatological masterpiece, presents a Biblical case that keeps the “time statements” intact while proving God’s real-time faithfulness. This book clearly and completely answers both the atheist as well as the premillennialist. If you are willing to consider a viable alternative to the failed system that has dominated the Church for a century, this book will provide answers to your most perplexing eschatological questions. Charles began www.faithfacts.org, one of the first apologetics websites, to defend Christianity from skeptics and to bolster the faith of those committed to Christ. In so doing, he was confronted with the eschatological issues that have plagued the church. This book arose from a time of concerted study and introspection. Charles just mentioned that he received an email from a Dallas Theological Seminary grad letting him know that he left behind Left Behind (after reading this book).

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2 Responses to With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, but for us one day is like, well, 24 hours… :)

  1. BobSan says:

    Chuck, what an awesome and clear explanation of the time statements in the Bible and how important they are in understanding the Scriptures. Thank you for all the effort you put forth in researching this information and sharing it with others. Truth really does matter!

  2. Chuck Coty says:

    Thanks so much BobSan. Not only does truth matter but time matters as well, doesn't it. Most Christians that take this "time is irrelevant" approach, do not seem to realize that there's a whole lot more at stake than eschatology. 2 Peter 3:8 may not just be the most abused verse in the Bible, but people who use it to elasticize time to fit their eschatological paradigm, are unwittingly undermining Biblical inspiration.

    If the Apostle Peter was aware that time was of no consequence, why would he have written "the end of all things is NEAR." (1 Peter 4:7b) That makes no sense.

    So, instead of making excuses for 1 Peter 4:7, I think it's time to figure out what Peter meant when he wrote that everything was about to end. To what end was Peter referring? Clearly not the end of the world but actually the same "end of the age" that Jesus spoke of.

    People have assumed that Christ would come at the end of the world, so since the world has not ended, they have to provide Peter with an excuse. So 2 Peter 3:8 seemed like the perfect allibi to circumvent this problem. However, in so doing, it has been wreaking havoc on the veracity of Christ and the integrity of the Bible.

    There's a reason Leftbehindology has spawned the steady stream of errant predictions… because it's not valid. And I pray that the vast majority of Christians will soon wake up to the problems before the atheists gain an even greater foothold in their quest to bury the Bible.

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