2 Peter 3:12: The Day of the Lord and Practical Holiness, Part 2

Verse 12:  (1 Cor. 1:7; Tit. 2:13) Looking for and hasting unto the coming (or, hasting the coming[1]) of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall (Ps. 50:3; Is. 34:4) be dissolved, and the elements shall (Mic. 1:4; 2 Pet. 3:10) melt with fervent heat?

[Looking for, etc., προσδοκῶντας καὶ σπεύδοντας τὴν παρουσίαν τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμέρας]  Looking for (according to Luke 12:36 [Estius, Gerhard]; Titus 2:13 [Gerhard]) and hurrying (understanding, unto, or, toward [Vulgate, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Arabic]) the coming of God’s day (Montanus), or, of the day of God (Erasmus, etc.), that is, either, of God, who shall judged by Christ, Acts 17:31 (Piscator), or, of Christ, concerning whose coming and day of judgment it is evident that it is here treated.  Therefore, this place is manifestly for the divinity of Christ (Estius).  Ἐπιφάνεια/epiphany/appearing in the New Testament[2] is never attributed to the Father, but only to the Son (Gerhard).  The day of God is the same as the day of Christ, [either] because God reveals Himself in Christ (Grotius):  or, because Christ is God (Estius, Gerhard), and indeed the great God, Titus 2:13 (Gerhard).  Looking for and desiring, etc. (Grotius), that is, longing for the arrival (Menochius).  Now this looking for, and also the hasting and rushing to meet, is performed when one, diligently applying himself to pious works, shows himself heartily to love and to desire the coming of the Lord (Estius).  Thus σπεύδω τὸ σὸν ἄγαθον, I hasten after thy good, in Thucydides.  See also 2 Maccabees 9:14[3] (Grotius).  Others:  Looking for by hasting, or speedily, the coming, etc.; that is to say, hasting slowly, so that looking for might signify delay, or patient tolerance of delay, but hasting might signify a zeal opposite to torpor (certain interpreters in Estius and in Gerhard).  Others:  Looking for and accelerating the coming, etc. (Erasmus, Tigurinus, Vatablus), or, unto the coming, etc. (Illyricus), that is, forwarding it by a diligent study of good works, so that it might be accelerated, etc. (Erasmus in Estius).  But the acceleration of this coming is never attributed to us, but to Christ alone.  And the verb σπεύδειν, to hasten, in the New Testament is always taken intransitively or neutrally, as in Luke 2:16;[4] 19:5;[5] etc.  Sometimes σπεύδειν is joined with an Accusative, as once in the Septuagint of Isaiah 16:5.[6]  But then it generally is used for to apply oneself unto something, or to reach toward it.  Pindar’s Pythian Ode 3, βίον ἀθάνατον σπεῦδε, hasten unto immortal life.  Homer’s Iliad ν´, ταῦτα χρὴ σπεύδειν, be eager to hasten unto these things.  Euripides, σπεύδω τὸ ἄγαθον, I apply myself unto thy benefit[7] (Gerhard).  But σπεύδω is sometimes taken actively and transitively for I act to hasten, as in that saying of Homer, Odyssey τ´, οἱ δὲ γάμους σπεύδουσιν, they hasten nuptials, that is, they desire it to be done more quickly (Schmidt).  I would prefer that here, just as also in the Greek of Isaiah 16:5, there be an Ellipsis of the preposition εἰς/unto (Gerhard).

Looking for; patiently waiting for, and expecting.  And hasting unto; by fervent desire of it, and diligent preparation for it.  The coming of the day of God; the day of the Lord, verse 10.

[During, etc., δι᾽ ἣν οὐρανοὶ πυρούμενοι λυθήσονται, καὶ στοιχεῖα καυσούμενα τήκεται]  [Others read τηκήσεται, as Mede.]  Or, τακήσεται, shall be melted[8] [as Grotius, Gerhard], which is found in the Complutensian and Royal Codices, as well as in most approved Codices, which better agrees with the preceding verb λυθήσονται, shall be dissolved[9] (Gerhard).  This word is put in the place of נָזַל, to flow down, in Isaiah 64:1[10] (Gerhard, similarly Grotius); in the place of כָּלָה, to fail, in Job 11:20;[11] in the place of מוּג, it is dissolved, or melted, in Exodus 15:15;[12] in the place of מָסַס, to melt, that it might flow down, Judges 15:14;[13] Psalm 22:14;[14] in the place of מָקַק, to pine away, in Leviticus 26:39;[15] Isaiah 34:4.[16]  All which significations come together here (Gerhard).  [Thus they render the passage:]  During (or, because of [Estius]) which (either, 1.  the day [Erasmus]:  or, 2.  the advent [Erasmus out of Lyra, Estius, Piscator], or παρουσίαν/comingThrough that utmost energy of God, which in that day, that is, at that time, He shall reveal Himself [Grotius]:  Others:  in which [Beza, Piscator]) the heavens (the Atmosphere and Ether, two heavens [Grotius]:  See the things said on verse 10 [Grotius]), burning (or, being on fire [Beza, Piscator, Gerhard], smelted with fire, as metals are wont to be smelted, צְרוּפִים/tried/refined, Psalm 12:6[17] [Grotius, thus Mede]; 2 Samuel 22:31;[18] Isaiah 1:25;[19] Daniel 12:10;[20] Zechariah 13:9;[21] and elsewhere [Grotius]), and the elements, burning with great heat, shall melt (Montanus, Piscator, Vatablus).  Like metal in a furnace (Menochius):  or, they shall melt away (Grotius), like wax, Micah 1:4[22] (Grotius, similarly Estius), or, they liquefy (Erasmus, Piscator), the Present τήκεται in the place of the Future τήξεται (Piscator, Gerhard).  Or, they shall melt/dissolve (Vulgate).  He says the same thing as in the preceding (Estius).



[1] Greek:  σπεύδοντας τὴν παρουσίαν.

[2] 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13.

[3] 2 Maccabess 9:14:  “That the holy city (to the which he was going in haste [ἣν σπεύδων παρεγίνετο] to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common buryingplace,) he would set at liberty…”

[4] Luke 2:16:  “And they came, hasting (σπεύσαντες), and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

[5] Luke 19:5:  “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down (σπεύσας κατάβηθι); for to day I must abide at thy house.”

[6] Isaiah 16:5:  “And in mercy shall the throne be established:  and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness (וּמְהִ֥ר צֶֽדֶק׃; καὶ σπεύδων δικαιοσύνην, in the Septuagint).”

[7] Hecuba 120.

[8] In the Future Tense, as opposed to the Present.

[9] In the Future Tense.

[10] Isaiah 64:1:  “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down (נָזֹלּוּ; τακήσονται, in the Septuagint) at thy presence…”

[11] Job 11:20:  “But the eyes of the wicked shall fail (תִּכְלֶינָה; τακήσονται, in the Septuagint), and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.”

[12] Exodus 15:15:  “Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away (נָמֹגוּ; ἐτάκησαν, in the Septuagint).”

[13] Judges 15:14b:  “…and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed (וַיִּמַּ֥סּוּ אֱסוּרָ֖יו; καὶ ἐτάκησαν δεσμοὶ αὐτοῦ, in the Septuagint) from off his hands.”

[14] Psalm 22:14:  “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:  my heart is like wax; it is melted (נָמֵס; τηκόμενος, in the Septuagint) in the midst of my bowels.”

[15] Leviticus 26:39:  “And they that are left of you shall pine away (יִמַּקּוּ) in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away (יִמָּקּוּ; τακήσονται, in the Septuagint) with them.”

[16] Isaiah 34:4a:  “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved (וְנָמַ֙קּוּ֙ כָּל־צְבָ֣א הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם; τακήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν, in Vaticanus), and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll…”

[17] Psalm 12:6:  “The words of the Lord are pure words:  as silver tried (צָרוּף; πεπυρωμένον, in the Septuagint) in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

[18] 2 Samuel 22:31:  “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried (צְרוּפָה; πεπυρωμένον, in the Septuagint):  he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”

[19] Isaiah 1:25:  “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away (וְאֶצְרֹף; καὶ πυρώσω, in the Septuagint) thy dross, and take away all thy tin…”

[20] Daniel 12:10a:  “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried (וְיִצָּרְפוּ; καὶ πυρωθῶσιν, in Theodotion); but the wicked shall do wickedly…”

[21] Zechariah 13:9a:  “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them (וּצְרַפְתִּים; καὶ πυρώσω αὐτούς, in the Septuagint) as silver is refined (כִּצְרֹ֣ף אֶת־הַכֶּ֔סֶף; ὡς πυροῦται τὸ ἀργύριον, in the Septuagint), and will try them as gold is tried…”

[22] Micah 1:4:  “And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft (τακήσονται, shall be melted, in the Septuagint), as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.”

2 Peter 3:11: The Day of the Lord and Practical Holiness, Part 1

Verse 11:  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be (1 Pet. 1:15) in all holy conversation and godliness…

[Since, etc., τούτων οὖν πάντων λυομένων, ποταποὺς δεῖ ὑπάρχειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ἁγίαις ἀναστροφαῖς καὶ εὐσεβείαις]  Since, therefore, all these things (enumerated in the preceding verse [Gerhard, thus Estius]) are to be unbound, or dissolved (or, are unbound [Illyricus, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Arabic, Vatablus, Estius]:  the Present in the place of the Future, both on account of certainty [Gerhard, similarly Estius], and on account of nearness [Gerhard]; and because these things are ever to be held before the eyes as present [Estius]:  If God does not spare these, such illustrious works, how much less the impious [Grotius]?), what sort (that is, how pious, prudent, accurate, and diligent in the study of virtue and piety [Gerhard]:  Ποταπός is something more than ποῖος, what sort [Grotius]:  For it is used of excellent things [Grotius, similarly Gerhard], and it does not simply signify the quality of a thing or person [Estius], but with a certain emphasis of admiration [Estius, similarly Gerhard], as in Matthew 8:27;[1] Mark 13:1;[2] Luke 1:29;[3] 7:39;[4] 1 John 3:1[5] [Grotius, thus Estius, Gerhard]) it is necessary that ye be in holy ways of life (consult Matthew 24:42; Luke 21:34, 36 [Piscator]) and the duties of piety (Piscator, Beza, Pagnine), or, and in the works of piety (Illyricus), or, and pieties (Erasmus, Tigurinus, Montanus, Castalio, Arabic), that is, piety consisting in all its numbers and parts, as the plural number indicates (Beza).  The sense:  in holy and pious actions (Estius); in the Christian life, piety, and study of virtue (Menochius).  Ἀναστροφὴ/conversation/conduct and εὐσέβεια/piety/godliness are wont to be expressed in the singular; but the custom of the Hebrews is to give plurals for all such nouns:  and so they say חֲסָדִיס/lovingkindnesses,[6] צְדָקוֹת/righteousnesses,[7] and similar things (Grotius).

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved; seeing the coming of the Lord will be so terrible, as to bring with it the consumption of the world, and the destruction of these things here below, upon which we are so apt to set our affections.  What manner of persons ought ye to be; how prudent, accurate, diligent, zealous, and every way excellent persons!  The Greek word is often used by way of admiration of some singular excellency in persons or things, Matthew 8:27; Mark 13:1; Luke 1:29.  In all holy conversation and godliness:  the words in the Greek are both in the plural number, and may imply not only a continued course of holy walking throughout our whole time, but likewise diligence in the performance of all sorts of duties, and exercise of all those various graces wherewith the Spirit of God furnisheth believers in order thereto.



[1] Matthew 8:27:  “But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man (ποταπός) is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

[2] Mark 13:1:  “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner (ποταποὶ) of stones and what (ποταπαὶ) buildings are here!”

[3] Luke 1:29:  “And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner (ποταπὸς) of salutation this should be.”

[4] Luke 7:39:  “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner (ποταπὴ) of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”

[5] 1 John 3:1a:  “Behold, what manner (ποταπὴν) of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…”

[6] Genesis 32:10a:  “I am not worthy of the least of all the lovingkindness (הַחֲסָדִים/ lovingkindnesses), and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant…”

[7] Isaiah 33:15a:  “He that walketh righteously (צְדָקוֹת/righteousnesses), and speaketh uprightly…”

2 Peter 3:10: The Day of the Lord Described

Verse 10:  But (Matt. 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3; 16:15) the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which (Ps. 102:26; Is. 51:6; Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Rom. 8:20; Heb. 1:11; Rev. 20:11; 21:1) 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.

[But shall come the day of the lord (that last day, in which Christ shall judge men [Grotius, similarly Estius, Menochius, Gerhard, Gomar]; an earnest of which shall be those Judgments against the Jews, Luke 17:24; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:10 [Grotius]) as, etc., ἥξει δὲ ἡ ἡμέρα Κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτί]  As a thief comes in the night (Beza, etc.), that is, unforeseen and unexpected (Menochius, thus Beza, Estius, Piscator, Mede); suddenly, Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (Grotius).

But the day of the Lord; the day of judgment is here called the day of the Lord by way of eminence, as the great day, Jude 6, and the great day of God Almighty, Revelation 16:14, and the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6, 10.  Will come as a thief in the night; as a thief comes suddenly and unexpectedly, when he thinks all in the house are most secure.

[In which the heavens with great violence, etc., ἐν ᾗ οἱ οὐρανοὶ ῥοιζηδὸν[1] παρελεύσονται]  Stridently (or, with a high-pitched sound [Pe., Beza, Piscator, Illyricus]; or, in the manner of a storm [Erasmus, Tigurinus]; with great violence [Vulgate, Grotius]; with a violent sound [Estius]:  In the Glossa ῥοῖζος [is] fury [Grotius, thus Gerhard], with a high-pitched sound or hissing [Gerhard]:  Also the Scholiasts of Home interpret it as ὁρμήν/onrush [Grotius]:  It is used of the impetus of spirit, Bel and the Dragon 1:36;[2] of a chariot, 2 Maccabees 9:7;[3] of a river, Ezekiel 47:5;[4] and of winds, or of arrows, or of flying birds, Wisdom of Solomon 5:11, 12;[5] Homer’s Iliad π´;[6] Plutarch’s Concerning the Hearing of Poems:[7]  And ῥοιζεῖν is to hiss with a high-pitched sound [Gerhard]:  Others:  swiftly [Castalio, thus Hammond], suddenly [Syriac], immediately [Arabic]:  The latter better agrees with the similitude of thieves, than the former with a loud noise, which thieves do not willingly emit:  Phavorinus [interprets] ῥοίζει as διώκει, to impel, ὁρμᾷ, to set in motion, τρέχει, to run; and ῥοιζηδὸν as σφοδρῶς/violently [Hammond]) they shall pass, or shall pass over (Montanus, Beza, Erasmus, etc.), or, shall perish (Castalio).  The Sky and Ether shall perish, because their appearance and form shall be changed.  Things appear to be absent, say the Lawyers, even these things of which the body remains, but the form has been changed:[8]  where body is used in the place of matter.  Concerning the word παρέρχεσθαι, to pass, see Matthew 5:18[9] (Grotius); 24:35;[10] Luke 16:17;[11] Revelation 21:1[12] (Gerhard).  The Hebrews use עָבַר in the same sense, as in Psalm 37:36[13] and elsewhere.  אָבַד is also put for this, Psalm 102:26[14] (Grotius).

In the which the heavens; viz. those that are visible, in distinction from the empyreal heaven, or place of glorified spirits.  Shall pass away; either wholly, so as to cease to be; or rather, as to their present being and condition, so as to cease to be what they now are, and to give place to the new heaven, Revelation 21:1.  The same word is used, Matthew 24:35; Luke 16:17.  With a great noise; either swiftly and violently, or with such a noise as is usually caused by such violent and speedy motions.

[The elements, etc., στοιχεῖα δὲ καυσούμενα λυθήσονται]  Indeed, the elements, burning (or, having ignited with heat [Estius]:  This word is found in Dioscorides[15] [Grotius]) shall be unbound (Erasmus, Beza, Piscator, etc.), that is, shall be melted and dispersed (Gerhard, thus Mede).  Λύειν signifies to destroy, as in John 2:19;[16] Acts 27:41;[17] 1 John 3:8[18] (Gerhard).  Λύεσθαι here, which Euripides called διακρίνεσθαι, to separate, is to perish from its prior form (Grotius).  The sense:  with fire applied they shall be melted:  for what here is λυθήσονται, they shall be unbound, is in verse 12 τηκήσεται, they shall melt.[19]  Now, melting is done for purification.  Add that the Septuagint translates the word צָרַף, to refine, to try, by the word πυρόω, to burn or melt with fire, in Psalm 12[20] and elsewhere.  It is a Metaphor taken from metals, which are melted with fire so that they might be purified (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 760).  By στοιχεῖα/elements here he understands, either, 1.  Air, Water, and Earth, which perished in the waters of the Flood:  not fire.  For how will fire consume fire, and that completely (Estius)?  On the other hand, 1.  the language of στοιχείων/elements in Sacred Scripture is not wont to be taken in a philosophical sense, neither is it able thus to be taken here.  For the Hebraic division of the World into Heaven and Earth is here expressed, and στοιχεῖα, the elements, are distinguished from both.  Moreover, in that division of the Hebrews, Earth includes Water, just as Heaven includes Air.  Thus we have the three elements of the Philosophers.  The fourth is Fire, which is a thing burning, not to be burned (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 758).  Or, 2.  Stars and Water:  for a special mention of Earth follows.  Compare Wisdom of Solomon 19:18[21] (Grotius).  What the στοιχεῖα might be here is to be learned from the Antithesis:  for to the word στοιχεῖα answers τὰ ἔργα, the works, in the earth.  Therefore, as ἔργα here are the hosts of the earth, or the masses of creatures pertaining to the earth, so also the hosts of heaven, Genesis 2:1,[22] are able to be called στοιχεῖα, with the Hellenists here, as is often the case, bending a Greek word unto a signification similar to their own tongue.  And in this sense the word is used by Justin Martyr,[23] Theodoret, Theophilus,[24] Polycrates.[25]  [Whose words see in Mede.]  And the word στοιχείων, in Wisdom of Solomon 7:17-19,[26] Ramban,[27] with Schickard[28] as witness, renders מַזָּלוֹת,[29] which word signifies the Planets, Signs, or Constellations of heaven.  And what is צָבָא to the Hebrews is στείχω, that is, to march in military order; and στίχος, or στοίχος, is military order.  Now, as the heaven is threefold, Empyreal, Starry, and Aerial:  so also are the hosts of each, of the First, Angles and blessed Spirits; of the second, Stars and Planets; of the third are either visible, like Clouds, Meteors, Birds, or invisible, like Demons, Ephesians 2:2; 6:12.  These last are here treated:  and Demons, although they are not to be consumed by this fire, yet by it they are to be driven from their aerial dwellings, and cast down to hell.  But if one might take this passage in the Prophetic style, Heaven here is able to denote the highest part of the Political Sphere, the Hosts of which are Idols, Kings, Princes, etc.; but Earth denotes the common sort of men:  in which sense heaven and earth are taken in Isaiah 34:2, 4, 5; Jeremiah 4:23; Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22.  Thus also Matthew 24:29.  Why not also in this place, where a Prophecy is transcribed, might they be able to be taken?  Now, the sense is thus:  The whole world of the impious, the highest and the lowest, Princes and common people, men and beasts, shall be consumed (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 759, etc.).

[The earth, etc., καὶ γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ ἔργα κατακαήσεται]  And the earth and what works are in it (ἔργα/works here means מַלְאֲכוֹת/works/occupations/ property, under which name are also comprehended Animals, as in Genesis 33:14,[30] and other things which are possessed by men, like Trees and Plants:  Thus—labors of oxen in the writings of the Poets [Grotius]:  He understand here works, either, 1.  of nature, such as mountains, rocks, metals [Tirinus], plants, beasts, etc. [certain interpreters in Estius, thus a great many in Gerhard]; or, 2.  of art [Tirinus], such as buildings, cities, citadels, etc. [other interpreters in Estius, Gerhard, Menochius]; or, 3.  of sins, or earthly acts, which is favored by the Antithesis, holy conversation, in the following versr, and the righteousness of the new earth,[31] etc. [Estius]:  It is evident that the whole system of the world is treated here, with all its parts and contents [Gerhard]) shall be burned up (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, etc.).  For this is κατακαίεσθαι in Exodus 3:2;[32] Isaiah 43:2;[33] 64:2;[34] Jeremiah 49:2;[35] etc. (Grotius).  This fire shall not burn the entire earth, but it exterior parts, which serve the uses of men, and which, infected by the sins of men, shall require purging (Estius).  But Peter speaks here absolutely concerning the whole earth, and heaven, etc. (Gerhard).  Now, here he understands the aerial heavens (Tirinus, thus Estius, Menochius), but not the ethereal, as is readily suggested, both by their most excellent nature and immense mass; and, because it is not able to be proven that those are stained by the sin of man or are cursed, or are inhabited by any of the hosts of God (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 760).  But it is expressly said in Psalm 102:26 that the entire heaven is going to perish, that is, the entire space of atmosphere between the heavenly boides and the earth.  And in this passage all the elements shall perish, so that they speak to no purpose who except from this πανολεθρίᾳ, total destruction the upper region of the atmosphere, like Barradius[36] and Estius (Gerhard).  [It is to be inquired here, Whether the destruction of the world is going to be substantial, or only accidental, or with respect to qualities?]  Now, since this is not an article of faith, it is permitted to the learned and honest to differ concerning it (Laurentius[37] out of Augustine, similarly Gerhard).  The substantial destruction of the world is affirmed by Clement of Rome[38] and Hillary[39] (Laurentius, Vorstius), likewise Luther, Melanchthon, Brentius,[40] Bucer,[41] Beroaldus[42] (Vorstius), Meisner, Salmeron,[43] etc. (Laurentius) [who are followed by Vorstius, Gerhard, etc.].  The arguments for this opinion are, 1.  The emphatic words of Scripture, by which this destruction is described (Gerhard).  For the world, heaven and earth, are said to pass away, Isaiah 51:6, so shaken that they are moved, Hebrews 12:26, not to remain, Hebrews 13:14, not to be any longer, Revelation 10:6, 7; 21:1; etc., to end, Matthew 28:20, to perish, Psalm 102:26, 27, to be loosened, to be dissolved, to be burned up, in this passage, to pass, or to pass by, here and in 1 John 2:17 (Vorstius), and in Luke 21:33 (Gerhard).  But the verb, παρελεύσονται, it shall pass, according to the Hebraism signifies any change of a thing, or transition into another state, and answers to the verb עָבַר, to pass over; it no more denotes obliteration in this destruction through fire than the word ἀπώλετο, it perished, when the speech was concerning the destruction through water[44] (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 761).  2.  The purpose of God, creating the world with that end which is described in Genesis 1.  Now, this end or use must cease with this animal and earthly life of man:  for then we shall not need nourishment, clothing, crops, plants, beasts, etc., which hence shall be to no purpose.  But God does not make anything in vain.  3.  The wisdom of God, which always proceeds from the less perfect to the more perfect, for example, from shadows to the substance of the thing, from earthly to heavenly and spiritual things (Vorstius).  [These things concerning the first opinion.]  An accidental destruction of the world is affirmed by Irenæus, Justin Martyr, Cyril, Chrysostom, Augustine, Basil,[45] etc., whom Vossius[46] cites in Theses for Disputation “Concerning the End of the World”.[47]  These are followed by Calvin, Piscator, Pareus,[48] Vossius, Lombard,[49] Aquinas, Cajetan, Pererius,[50] Toletus,[51] Hemmingsen,[52] etc. (Laurentius) [who are followed by Laurentius, Estius, Mede, etc.].  The arguments for this opinion are, 1.  Some passages of Scripture, like Psalm 102:28; Isaiah 30:26 (Laurentius, certain interpreters in Vorstius), and especially Romans 8:19, etc. (Laurentius out of Vossius).  But in that place only the liberation of the creature from the present abuse of men is treated, which is able to consist with the substantial destruction of the world (Vorstius).  [See what things were said there.]  2.  The destruction of the world by water was only with respect to qualities; therefore, such shall be that by fire (certain interpreters in Vorstius).  But the reason is unequal, for by the former devastation an end was not imposed on this entire animal life (Vorstius).  3.  The reason for this destruction of the world is so that it might be liberated from the curse, Genesis 3:17.  But this is not to be referred to the substance of the earth, but only to qualities, etc. (certain interpreters in Vorstius).  But the true cause of this destruction is that at that time there shall be no further use of this world, since it has only been designed for animal and terrestrial life.  For the curse pertains to the earth alone, which hence is to be renovated alone (Vorstius).  4.  Then there would be no place either for blessed or damned men (certain interpreters in Vorstius).  But at that time there shall be a new earth, but one plainly dissimilar to this our earth, inasmuch as it shall be entirely heavenly and spiritual (Vorstius).  But that new creation of the new earth has no foundation in Scripture, and is altogether superfluous (Laurentius).  Others:  It is not here treated, as it is commonly thought, of the end of the world; but of the astonishing Destruction of the Jewish nation, which is sometimes called the world, as in Isaiah 10:23, compared with Romans 9:28; Isaiah 13:5, 9; etc., or, which is the same thing, heaven and earth, Isaiah 51:15, 16; Haggai 2:6, 21; or, if the heavens here be understood as the ethereal, and Planets, etc., they shall answer to the Sun, Moon, and Stars, Matthew 24:29, and shall aptly express the City and Temple, and the civil and Ecclesiastical state, of the Jews, and the governors of both, as the common people are designated by the earth, etc.  Now, in this manner is described this judgment of God, both, because it was quite dreadful and most grievous, which sort the Prophets are wont to denote by fire and burning; and, also on account of that fire kindled by the Romans and the Zealots, by which in a wonderful manner the City, Temple, etc. burned, so that not even Titus himself, although more than willing, was able to restrain the conflagration (Hammond).

The elements, in a natural sense, as integral parts of the universe, air, water, earth.  Shall melt with fervent heat; so 2 Peter 3:12, where another word is used in the Greek, which properly signifies melting, or being on fire, or burning, shall be dissolved or destroyed.  So the word signifies, John 2:19; 1 John 3:8.  The earth also; the habitable part of the world.  Though the earth, as a part of the world, be included in the elements before mentioned, yet here it may be taken with respect to its inhabitants, and the things contained in it.  And the works that are therein shall be burned up; not only artificial, men’s works, but natural, all that variety of creatures, animate and inanimate, wherewith God hath stored this lower world for the present use of man; and so all those delectable things in which carnal men seek their happiness.



[1] Ῥοιζηδόν is an adverb, derived from the verbal root, ῥοιζέω, to make a confused noise.

[2] Bel and the Dragon 1:36:  “Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown, and bare him by the hair of his head, and through the vehemency (τῷ ῥοίζῳ) of his spirit set him in Babylon over the den.”

[3] 2 Maccabees 9:7:  “Howbeit he nothing at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding to haste the journey:  but it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot, carried violently (ῥοίζῳ); so that having a sore fall, all the members of his body were much pained.”

[4] Ezekiel 47:5:  “Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over:  for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, the rushing of a torrent (ῥοῖζος χειμάρρου, in the Septuagint) that could not be passed over.”

[5] Wisdom of Solomon 5:11, 12:  “Or as when a bird hath flown through the air, there is no token of her way to be found, but the light air being beaten with the stroke of her wings and parted with the violent noise (βίᾳ ῥοίζου) and motion of them, is passed through, and therein afterwards no sign where she went is to be found; Or like as when an arrow is shot at a mark, it parteth the air, which immediately cometh together again, so that a man cannot know where it went through…”

[6] Iliad 16:358-361:  “And the great Aias was ever fain to cast his spear at Hector…but he in his cunning of war…ever watched the whirring (ῥοῖζον) of arrows and the hurtling of spears.”

[7] Πῶς δεῖ τὸν νέον ποιημάτων ἀκούειν.

[8] Digests 50:16:13:1.

[9] Matthew 5:18:  “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass (παρέλθῃ), one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass (παρέλθῃ) from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

[10] Matthew 24:35:  “Heaven and earth shall pass away (παρελεύσονται), but my words shall not pass away (παρέλθωσι).”

[11] Luke 16:17:  “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass (παρελθεῖν), than one tittle of the law to fail.”

[12] Revelation 21:1:  “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:  for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (παρῆλθε); and there was no more sea.”

[13] Psalm 37:36:  “Yet he passed away (וַיַּעֲבֹר; καὶ παρῆλθον, in the Septuagint), and, lo, he was not:  yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.”

[14] Psalm 102:26a:  “They shall perish (יֹאבֵדוּ), but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment…”

[15] De Materia Medica 2:134.

[16] John 2:19:  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy (λύσατε) this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

[17] Acts 27:41:  “And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken (ἐλύετο) with the violence of the waves.”

[18] 1 John 3:8b:  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy (λύσῃ) the works of the devil.”

[19] 2 Peter 3:12:  “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved (πυρούμενοι λυθήσονται), and the elements burning with great heat shall melt (καυσούμενα τήκεται)?”

[20] Psalm 12:6:  “The words of the Lord are pure words:  as silver tried (צָרוּף; πεπυρωμένον, in the Septuagint) in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

[21] Wisdom of Solomon 19:18-21:  “For the elements (τὰ στοιχεῖα) were changed in themselves by a kind of harmony, like as in a psaltery notes change the name of the tune, and yet are always sounds; which may well be perceived by the sight of the things that have been done.  For earthly things were turned into watery, and the things, that before swam in the water, now went upon the ground.  The fire had power in the water, forgetting his own virtue:  and the water forgat his own quenching nature.  On the other side, the flames wasted not the flesh of the corruptible living things, though they walked therein; neither melted they the icy kind of heavenly meat that was of nature apt to melt.”

[22] Genesis 2:1:  “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them (צְבָאָם, from צָבָא/tsaba).”

[23] Dialogue with Trypho 23; Apology 2.

[24] Apologia ad Autolycum 1.  Theophilus (second century) was converted to Christianity from paganism, and he was ordained as Bishop of Antioch circa 168.

[25] Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 5:24.  Polycrates of Ephesus (second century) was a Christian bishop at Ephesus.

[26] Wisdom of Solomon 7:17-19:  “For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements (στοιχείων):  The beginning, ending, and midst of the times:  the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons:  The circuits of years, and the positions of stars…”

[27] Moshe ben Nehman Gerondi, or Nahmanides (1194-1270), was a medieval Spanish rabbi, a philosopher, a Kabbalist, and a Biblical commentator.  His commentary on the Torah is characterized by his own careful philological work, an uncritical acceptance of the teachings of the rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud, and mysticism.

[28] William Schickard (d. 1635) was a man of diverse interests, which interests carried him through a multiplicity of vocations.  He was a Lutheran minister, a Professor of Hebrew, a Professor of Astronomy, and an inventor.

[29] See 2 Kings 23:5:  “And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets (וְלַמַּזָּלוֹת), and to all the host of heaven.”

[30] Genesis 33:14:  “Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant:  and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle (הַמְּלָאכָה, that is, the property with which one is occupied) that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.”

[31] Verse 13.

[32] Exodus 3:2:  “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush:  and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed (אֻכָּל; κατεκαίετο, in the Septuagint).”

[33] Isaiah 43:2b:  “…when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned (תִכָּוֶה; κατακαυθῇς, in the Septuagint); neither shall the flame kindle (תִבְעַר; κατακαύσει, in the Septuagint) upon thee.”

[34] Isaiah 64:2:  “As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth to boil (תִּבְעֶה; κατακαύσει, in the Septuagint) the waters, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”

[35] Jeremiah 49:2b:  “…and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned (תִּצַּתְנָה; κατακαυθήσονται, in the Septuagint) with fire…”

[36] Sebastião Barradas (1543-1615) was Portuguese Jesuit.  He was highly regarded as a preacher, and served as Professor of Scripture at Coimbra and Évora.  He published to commentaries:  Commentaria in Concordiam et Hitoriam Evangelicam and Itinerarium Filiorum Israel ex Ægypto in Terram Repromissionis.

[37] Jacob Laurentius (1585-1644) was a Dutch Reformed minister.  He wrote Epistola Jacobi, Perpetuo Commentario Explicata.

[38] Clement of Rome (died c. 100) was an early bishop of Rome.

[39] Hillary, Bishop of Poitiers (d. 368), was, among the Latin Fathers, one of the chief defenders of the Nicean theology against Arianism.

[40] John Brentius (1499-1570) was a pastor at Hall, and then at Stuttgard.  He was a reformer, and his views were very much like those of Luther.  He was a powerful preacher, and his commentaries, on almost all of the Bible, preserve much of the substance of his preaching.

[41] Martin Bucer (1491-1551) was an early Protestant reformer, based in Strasbourg.  He labored for the unity of Protestants.

[42] Matthieu Brouard (1520-1576) was a Reformed scholar.  He served as Professor of Hebrew at Orlean (1562-1568), Professor of Chronology at Sedan (1573-1574), and Professor of Philosophy at Geneva (1574-1576).

[43] Alfonso Salmeron (1515-1585) was a Spanish Jesuit and biblical scholar.  He wrote Præludia in Apocalypsin.

[44] Verse 6.

[45] Basil the Great was a fourth century Church Father and stalwart defender of Nicean Trinitarianism.

[46] Gerhard Johann Vossius (1577-1649) was a Dutch classical scholar and theologian.  In 1619, his Historia Pelagiana brought him into suspicion of Arminianism.

[47] Theses Disputandæ “de Fine Mundi”.

[48] David Pareus (1548-1622) was a Calvinist, serving the Reformed Church as a minister, churchman, and professor.  He wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, and it was held in high estimation among the Reformed.  His Commentarius in Epistolam ad Romanos was burned publicly at Oxford and Cambridge in 1622 by order of the Privy Council of James I because of his comments on Romans 13 in which he upholds the right of resistance to tyranny.

[49] Peter Lombard (c. 1096-c. 1164), although of relatively humble birth, became a renowned theologian in Paris.  His Four Books of Sentences served as a standard theological text at medieval universities.

[50] Benedictus Pererius (1535-1610) was a Spanish Jesuit.  In addition to his Commentariorum et Disputationum in Genesim Tomi Quattuor, in which he addresses many of the great difficulties in Genesis, he wrote one hundred and eighty-eight dissertations on Romans (Disputationes in Epistolam ad Romanos), one hundred and eighty-three on Revelation, and twenty-three demonstrating that Mohammed was not the Antichrist of Daniel and Revelation.

[51] Francisco de Toledo (1532-1596) was a Spanish Jesuit.  He served as professor at the Roman College, and was the first Jesuit to be made Cardinal.  He wrote prolifically in the fields of philosophy, theology, and exegesis.

[52] Nicolaus Hemmingius (1513-1600) was a Danish Lutheran theologian.  He studied under Melanchthon, and went on to write prolifically in the fields of theology and exegesis, including commentaries of the Epistles of Peter.

2 Peter 3:9 Delay No Argument against the Return, Part 2

Verse 9:  (Hab. 2:3; Heb. 10:37) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but (Isa. 30:18; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:15) is longsuffering to us-ward, (Ezek. 18:23, 32, etc.; 33:11) not willing that any should perish, but (Rom. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:4) that all should come to repentance.

[Not, etc., οὐ βραδύνει ὁ Κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας]  Understand  ἕνεκα, on account of, as it is in Acts 17:47[1] (Gerhard).  But I suppose that τὰς ἐπαγγελίας[2] was written, just like τὴν σωτηρίαν[3]—οὐ βραδυνῶ, salvation…I shall not delay, in Isaiah 46:13 (Grotius).  Βραδύνειν, to be slow, is set down, sometimes, 1.  intransitively, as in Genesis 43:10;[4] Deuteronomy 7:10;[5] 1 Timothy 3:15;[6] sometimes, 2.  transitively, as in Isaiah 46:13 (Gerhard).  [Thus they translate it:]  Does not retard (or, delay, or, put off [Cappel]) the Lord of the promise[7] (Estius), or, the promiser (Estius, thus Vatablus), or, who promised (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Estius, Vatablus).  Thus they join τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, of the promise, with ὁ Κύριος, the Lord, which is rather to be construed with βραδύνει, He delays.  It is no hindrance that it is construed with a Genitive, and not with an Accusative:  for μεταπτώσεις, changes of cases, are common among the sacred Writers (Cappel).  Or, the thing promised, or the promise[8] (Piscator, Castalio, Beza, Montanus), or, in His promises (Syriac, thus the Arabic), or, as far as the promise is concerned (Piscator, Gerhard), that is, He does not put off the thing promised (Piscator), namely, that concerning His coming, verse 4, to which he here has regard (Cappel).  He does not delay, that is, beyond the predetermined and fitting time (Estius, similarly Beza, Menochius).

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise; i.e. doth not defer the fulfilling of it beyond the appointed time, Isaiah 60:22.

[As, etc., ὥς τινες βραδυτῆτα ἡγοῦνται]  As some regard (understand, this to be [Beza, Piscator]) slowness (Beza, Piscator).  As if he either would change, or was unwilling to present, the thing proposed (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 756).  And therefore they also draw the very thing promised into doubt (Grotius).

As some men count slackness; either the scoffers here mentioned, who, because of Christ’s not yet coming, questioned whether he would come at all, as if God had changed his purpose, or would not fulfil it:  or believers themselves, who, through the weakness of their faith, and greatness of their sufferings, might grow into some degree of impatience, and think Christ slow in coming to avenge their cause, and give them their reward.  So much may be gathered from Revelation 6:10.

[But, etc., ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς ἡμᾶς, μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι, ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι]  But He is patient toward us (Piscator, thus Beza, Estius) (that is, either, 1.  toward the elect [Estius, thus Beza, Piscator, Gomar], to whom Peter writes, 1 Peter 1:1, 2 [Estius]; or, 2.  toward mankind, Revelation 6:10, 11:  In a manuscript it is δι᾽ ἡμᾶς, for your sake [Grotius]; or, 3.  toward the Jews, unto whom Peter writes [Mede]:  Or, toward you [certain interpreters in Estius]), not willing that any (that is, any of them, namely, those believing and elect [Piscator, similarly Beza]; whom he clearly separates from the mockers, with whom, believing and elect, he joins himself [Beza]) should perish, but that all (that is, the entire Jewish nation, in its own time, after it has for a long time endured most grievous punishments [Mede]) unto recovery, or repentance (or, sanity [Castalio]) should tend (Piscator, Pagnine, Montanus, Beza), or, go (Erasmus), come (Syriac, Vatablus, Estius), proceed (Arabic), yield (Piscator), return (Castalio), revert (Vulgate), or, embrace (Erasmus, Vatablus), or, receive (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Vatablus).  So that χωρῆσαι might be taken actively, and God wills be understood.  But χωρεῖν used actively signifies to receive, as in Matthew 19:11;[9] Mark 2:2;[10] John 2:6;[11] 21:25.[12]  Therefore, it is more rightly taken in a neutral signification, as in Matthew 15:17,[13] and in that saying of Euripides, χώρει σὺ δεῦρο, approach hither, come hither, because also the verb placed opposite to it, ἀπολέσθαι, to perish is neutral (Gerhard).  Just as before the destruction of the Jews He waited long for the repentance of the Jews, so also now He awaits it in the scattered remnants of the Jews (Grotius).  Now, while it is evident that many men perish, it is asked in what sense God is said not to will this, whose will is omnipotent and immutable, and therefore is always fulfilled (Estius).  Response 1:  He wills this [namely, the repentance and salvation of all] not plainly and absolutely, but so far as it stands with His justice and goodness.  Consult Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4 (Grotius).  He wills this so far as He bestows and provides certain means and general helps, by which they could be converted (certain interpreters in Estius); and He grants to them a space that they might emend their ways, lest they perish forever (Menochius):  as far as it pertains to Him He wills or desires this (Tirinus, thus Lyra), for He gives to all precepts, etc. (Lyra).  God wills this, not simply, but with a certain condition and certain means, for example, by the word and Holy Spirit, whom, if they spurn, etc., God now justly wills their damnation (Gerhard).  Response 2:  God wills this with a will absolute and properly so called, yet not concerning all men, but the elect alone (Estius).  [But these things belong to the other place.]

But is long-suffering to us-ward; to us believers, or us elect.  Not willing that any should perish; any that he hath ordained to life, though not yet called.  But that all should come to repentance; all whom he hath elected; he would have the whole number of them filled up, and defers the day of judgment till it be so:  or this may be meant not of God’s secret and effectual will, but of his revealed will, whereby he calls all to repentance promiscuously that hear the gospel preached, hath made it their duty, approves of it, hath prescribed it as the way of salvation, commanded them to seek salvation in that way, and is ready to receive and save them upon their repenting:  see 1 Timothy 2:4.



[1] Acts 17:47 is an error; Acts 26:21 may be intended:  “For these causes (ἕνεκα τούτων) the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.”

[2] That is, in the Accusative, rather than Genitive, Case.

[3] In the Accusative Case.

[4] Genesis 43:10:  “For except we had lingered (הִתְמַהְמָהְנוּ; ἐβραδύναμεν, in the Septuagint), surely now we had returned this second time.”

[5] Deuteronomy 7:10:  “And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them:  he will not be slack (לֹ֤א יְאַחֵר֙; οὐχὶ βραδυνεῖ, in the Septuagint) to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.”

[6] 1 Timothy 3:15a:  “But if I tarry long (βραδύνω), that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God…”

[7] That is, the Lord of the promise does not delay.

[8] Both in the Accusative Case.

[9] Matthew 19:11:  “But he said unto them, Not all receive (χωροῦσι) this saying, save they to whom it is given.”

[10] Mark 2:2a:  “And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive (χωρεῖν) them, no, not so much as about the door…”

[11] John 2:6:  “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing (χωροῦσαι) two or three firkins apiece.”

[12] John 21:25:  “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain (χωρῆσαι) the books that should be written.  Amen.”

[13] Matthew 15:17:  “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth (χωρεῖ) into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?”

2 Peter 3:8: Delay No Argument against the Return, Part 1

Verse 8:  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and (Ps. 90:4) a thousand years as one day.

[But let not this one thing escape your notice[1]]  That is, Ye shall know this especially (Grotius).  Although the time of the coming of the Lord escape notice, yet this ought not to escape your notice (Estius).

Be not ignorant of this one thing; i.e. be sure of it:  the same word is here used as verse 5;[2] and so he cautions them against the ignorance of scoffers, and to prevent it, would have them certainly know this one thing, which is extant in the Scripture, which foretells Christ’s coming.

[One day before the Lord (that is, Christ, concerning whose coming he speaks [Estius, similarly Gerhard], and to whom the title, Κύριος/Lord, in this Epistle is appropriated:  There is emphasis here, Before God [Gerhard]; that is, in the eyes and estimation of the eternal and immutable God [Estius, similarly Menochius], who is not subject to the succession and mutation of time, to whom all things Past and Future are Present [Gerhard]) is as a thousand years, and a thousand years, etc.[3]]  He observes that no time ought to seem long in comparison with the coming eternity (Estius).  That to God nothing is either great, or of long duration (Gerhard), neither does God delay the promise of His coming (Gomar, thus Gerhard):  which he proves; either, from the eternal nature of God, in which there is no difference of time, long or short; or, from the state of eternal life in heaven in the presence of God, in comparison of which all delay is brief; so that before God is understood as in heaven (Gomar).  Therefore, they play the fool, who thing that what is to us brief or long-lasting is so to God (Beza).  To God His judgment comes as easily suddenly as slowly, and vice versa (Grotius).  That a day before God is as a thousand years is a common saying among the Hebrews (Grotius, thus Mede), as it appears in Psalm 90:4, and in the Midrash on that place,[4] Ecclesiasticus 18:10,[5] in the Zohar, on the Parashot Bereshith[6] (Grotius).  And from these this sentence appears to be taken, rather than from Psalm 90:4, where there is only one member of the sentence (Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 756).  There is a saying of Heraclitus in Seneca’s Epistles 12, One day is equal to all.  Pythagoras[7] in Iamblichus[8] says, Θεοῖς οὐδὲν μακρὸν εἶναι, nothing is long to the gods.  Plutarch in Consolation,[9] Τὰ γὰρ χίλια καὶ τὰ μύρια, κατὰ Σιμωνίδην, ἔτη στίγμά τι ἐστιν ἀόριστον πρὸς τὸν ἄπειρον ἀφορῶσιν αἰῶνα, for the thousands and the myriads of years, according to Simonides, are but as a moment to what is infinite.  Again, Plutarch in Concerning the Delays in Divine Vengeance,[10] Τοῖς θεοῖς πᾶν ἀνθρωπίνου βίου διάστημα, τὸ μηδὲν ἐστι, etc., to the gods every interval of human life is as nothing, etc.  Zosimus in his New History[11] 2, Πᾶς γὰρ χρόνος τῷ Θείῳ βραχὺς ἀεί τε ὄντι καὶ ἐσομένῳ, for all time to God, who is and ever shall be, is short.  These things, wont to be said concerning God, the Writer of this Epistle applies to Christ, as many things said concerning God in the Old Testament are wont to be applied to Christ in the New (Grotius).  Others:  I in no wise hold these words as an argument to remove slowness from God, as they are commonly taken, for the question is not whether the time be long or short with respect to, or in the estimation of, God, but of us; for not even one hundred thousand years before God are more than one day, and hence it would not seem long to God, if the day of judgment shall be delayed for so long:  but rather as a declaration of the nomenclature of the Day of judgment, which immediately preceded; that is to say, What I now said concerning the day of judgment, I would not that it be understood concerning a brief day, or of a few hours (Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 712, 755); but of a space of a thousand years during which that day shall last (Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 662).

That one day is with the Lord; the Lord Jesus Christ, of whose coming he speaks.  As a thousand years; by a synecdoche, a thousand years is put for any, even the longest revolution of time; and the sense is, that though there be great difference of time, long and short, with us, who are subject to time, and are measured by it; yet with Him who is eternal, without succession, to whom nothing is past, nothing future, but all things present, there is no difference of time, none long, none short, but a thousand years, nay, all the time that hath run out since the creation of the world, is but as a day; and we are not to judge of the Lord’s delay in coming by our own sense, but by God’s eternity.



[1] Greek:  ἓν δὲ τοῦτο μὴ λανθανέτω ὑμᾶς.

[2] 2 Peter 3:5:  “For this they willingly are ignorant of (λανθάνει γὰρ αὐτοὺς τοῦτο θέλοντας), that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water…”

[3] Greek:  ὅτι μία ἡμέρα παρὰ Κυρίῳ ὡς χίλια ἔτη, καὶ χίλια ἔτη ὡς ἡμέρα μία.

[4] Midrash Tehillim is an haggadic midrash on the Psalms, composed before the eleventh century.

[5] Ecclesiasticus 18:10:  “As a drop of water unto the sea, and a gravelstone in comparison of the sand; so are a thousand years to the days of eternity.”

[6] The Kabbalah is a set of secret, esoteric Rabbinic doctrines, handed down orally and based on a mystical interpretation of the Hebrew Scripture.  Zohar is one of the principal texts for Kabbalists.  It was probably written by Moses de León in the thirteenth century, but it has traditionally been attributed to Simeon ben Jochai, a second century Rabbi and mystic.  The Zohar comments on all of the Parashot (multi-chapter reading divisions) of Genesis (Bereshith).

[7] Pythagoras (582-507 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician.

[8] The Life of Pythagoras.  Iamblichus (c. 245-c. 325) was instrumental in both shaping and spreading Neoplatonic philosophy in the ancient world.  He was heavily influenced by Pythagorean philosophy.

[9] Moralia 2:10.

[10] Moralia 7:44.

[11] Zosimus (fl. 490-520) was a Byzantine historian; he wrote Historia Nova, six books covering the history of the Roman emperors.

2 Peter 3:7: The Purpose of the Epistle: To Remind of the Coming of the Lord, Part 7

Verse 7:  But (2 Pet. 3:10) the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto (Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:8) fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

[But the heavens (either, 1.  the aerial [Estius, Augustine and Bede in Gerhard, similarly Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 758], not the super-elementary, or starry [Estius]:  or, 2.  the ethereal [Gerhard out of Catharinus[1] and Salmasius]; as it is evident, 1.  because these heavens are distinguished from the elements and the earth, and are opposed to the new heavens, which are certainly ethereal; 2.  because all heavens, even the ethereal, are said to be about to perish, Job 14:12; Psalm 72:7; 102:25-27; Isaiah 34:4; 51:6; 65:17; Revelation 20:11; 21:1 [Gerhard]:  The heavens, that is, Air and Ether [Grotius]), which now are (he says this for a distinction of the heaven and earth which were previously, from which they are diverse, not indeed in substance, or in all qualities, but to a good degree, on account of the mutation brought about by the flood, etc. [Estius]), and the earth (the Hebrews have no word that signifies World; and therefore they indicate it by its parts, heaven and earth [Hammond, Mede], just as evening and morning signifies a natural day:[2]  Thus body, flesh and bones, Ephesians 5:30, are put for the whole [Hammond]:  Thus in this place, heaven and earth, that is, the entire framework of this world set below the moon [Hammond, thus Mede]) by the same, etc., οἱ δὲ νῦν οὐρανοὶ καὶ ἡ γῆ τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ]  By the same word, or speech (Vulgate, Beza, Piscator, etc.), that is, by the command and decree of God (Menochius, similarly Piscator), by which formerly they were overwhelmed by the waters of the flood (Menochius).  Others read:  αὐτοῦ λόγῳ, by His Word[3] (Beza, Grotius), that is, τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγῳ, by the Word of God, as in verse 5 (Grotius).

[Are kept in store, τεθησαυρισμένοι εἰσί]  That is, as if they were hidden in the repository of the divine providence, justice, and vengeance, that is, reserved for fire, as it follows (Menochius):  They are left intact unto the time, like those things which are shut up in a box.  For, that the word θησαυρῶν/treasures/repositories extends so far, we said on Matthew 2:11,[4] and thence θησαυρίζειν, to keep in store, Matthew 6:19, 20;[5] Luke 12:21;[6] etc. (Grotius).  Τῷ λόγῳ, by the Word, is able to be, either, 1.  Dative, that is to say, God keeps them for His own word and will, so that at some point concerning them He might do what pleases Him (certain interpreters in Gerhard, Estius).  Or, 2.  Ablative, that is to say, Those, by the Divine word and power, are kept in a certain repository, as it were, not so that they might remain forever, but so that they might be destroyed at the appointed time (other interpreters in Gerhard).  In either case, the substance comes to the same thing (Gerhard).  It signifies that the word of God is a repository, out of which God draws in His own time what He has decreed to do (Estius).

The heavens; the ethereal, or starry heaven, as well as aerial; for, verses 10, 12, he distinguisheth the heavens that are to perish by fire, from the elements; and verse 13, he opposeth a new heaven to that heaven which is to be consumed; but the new heaven is not meant merely of the aerial heaven.  And why should not this be meant of the same heavens, which elsewhere in Scripture are said to perish? Job 14:12; Ps 102:26, All of them wax old, etc.  By the same word; the same as 2 Peter 3:5.  Are kept in store; are kept safe as in a treasury, and untouched for a time, that they may be destroyed at last.

[Unto fire (namely, of the conflagration at the end of the world [Menochius, similarly Estius]) reserved]  So that it might be consumed by fire (Piscator).  Τηρεῖσθαι, to be reserved, here signifies a distinction, as in 2 Peter 2:4,[7] 9,[8] 17;[9] 1 Peter 1:4.[10]  This most ancient tradition is confirmed by Christ.  That the testimonies of that were found among the works of Hystaspes,[11] the Sibylls,[12] and Sophocles, and are extant even now in the works of Ovid, Seneca,[13] and Lucan,[14] we show in Concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion[15] 1 near the end.  Seneca has the same, in Natural Questions[16] 3:13, The end of the World is fire:  namely, from the Stoics, who were calling that end of the World ἐκπύρωσιν, the conflagration.  Zeno, of Citium, of course,[17] had received this from the Phoenicians:  for Citium was a colony of the Phoenicians on Cyprus.  Heraclitus had the same from the Pythagoreans; the Pythagoreans from the Jews.  Mention is made of this tradition in the Book which is called The Cedar of Lebanon.  Just as God formerly loosened the reins of the waters, so he shall loosen the reins of fire.  Ὃταν πυρὸς γέμοντα θησαυρὸν σχάσῃ Χρυσωπὸς αἰθὴρ, when the golden ether opens the repository full of fire, says Sophocles.  Fire was not in that first, wet mass, but God afterwards inserted it.  Moses calls it light, because what things are hot are also bright.  From this light were compacted the Stars, whence fires descend unto the earth, and under the earth fires are generated.  By these fires coming together, just as the waters united, shall arise that conflagration, fatal to the earth.  With all matter burning with one fire, whatever now in order shines shall be on fire, says Seneca in Concerning Consolation.[18]  In Minucius,[19] Cæcilius says of the Christians, They threaten the whole Globe and the very World with conflagration (Grotius).  Moreover, Adam had predicted, says Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews 1:3, that all things finally are going to perish, once by the force of fire, and once by the force and abundance of water (Dieu).

Reserved unto fire; that they may be consumed by it.  The destruction of the world by fire at the last day, is opposed to the destruction of it by water in the flood.

[Unto (or, until [Piscator, Gerhard]) the day of judgment (that is, final and universal [Gerhard, thus Piscator]:  or, of condemnation [Piscator, Gerhard]) and of perdition of ungodly men]  Matthew 13:40; 25:41; Jude 7 (Grotius).  This he adds so that he might show the principal use of that fire, which is to torment the wicked forever (Estius).

Against the day of judgment; the general judgment.  And perdition of ungodly men; this the apostle speaks with an emphasis, because they were ungodly against whom he here bends his discourse.



[1] Lancelot Politi, also known as Ambrosius Catharinus (1483-1553), was an Italian Dominican scholar, who played a prominent role at the Council of Trent in defense of the Papacy against the Reformation.  In spite of theological eccentricities, he was considered to be an orthodox Romanist.

[2] See Genesis 1.

[3] Thus Codices Sinaiticus and Ephræmi Rescriptus, and the vast majority of Byzantine manuscripts.

[4] Matthew 2:11b:  “…and when they had opened their treasures (τοὺς θησαυροὺς), they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

[5] Matthew 6:19, 20:  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures (μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal…”

[6] Luke 12:21:  “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself (οὕτως ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ), and is not rich toward God.”

[7] 2 Peter 2:4:  “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved (τετηρημένους) unto judgment…”

[8] 2 Peter 2:9:  “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve (τηρεῖν) the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished…”

[9] 2 Peter 2:17:  “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved (τετήρηται) for ever.”

[10] 1 Peter 1:4:  “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved (τετηρημένην) in heaven for you…”

[11] Hystaspes, or Vishtaspa, was a tenth century BC follower and patron of Zoroaster.  The Oracles attributed to him were probably collected later, in the early third century BC.

[12] The Sibylline Oracles claim to be the work of ten pre-Christian Sibyls, prophesying of the coming of Christ and the spread of Christianity.  They appear to have been the work of multiple authors of differing dates, and modified later by Jewish and Christian scribes.

[13] Lucius Annæus Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD) was a Roman philosopher and dramatist.

[14] Marcus Annæus Lucanus (39-65) was a Roman poet.

[15] De Veritate Religionis Christianæ.

[16] Naturales Quæstiones.

[17] Zeno of Citium (333-264 BC) was the founder of the philosophical school of Stoicism.

[18] Ad Marciam 26.

[19] Felix Marcus Minucius (third century) was perhaps the earliest Latin apologist.  His Octavius presents an apologetic encounter between Cæcilius Natalis, a pagan, and Octavius Januarius, a Christian.

2 Peter 3:6: The Purpose of the Epistle: To Remind of the Coming of the Lord, Part 6

Verse 6:  (Gen. 7:11, 21-23; 2 Pet. 2:5) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished…

[By which, etc., δι᾽ ὧν ὁ τότε κόσμος ὕδατι κατακλυσθεὶς ἀπώλετο]  Through which (or, by which things, that is, by which inundation [Castalio]:  By which [Vatablus]; Namely, by the heavens [Estius, Bede and the Glossa Ordinaria, etc., in Gerhard, Menochius, Beza], that is, rains poured out from heaven, Genesis 7:11 [Estius], and by the earth [Menochius, Bede, etc., in Gerhard, Beza, Vatablus], which together discharged that immense force of water as if by common consent, Genesis 7:11 [Beza, similarly Menochius, Gagnæus in Gerhard], and by the water [certain interpreters in Estius, Gerhard, Mede], and the word of God, of both which mention is made in the preceding verse [Gerhard]:  Others:  Δι᾽ ὧν, whereby, is to be translated illatively,[1] and the Genitive is here put in the place of the Accusative:  now, διὰ with thee Accusative signifies because of, as in John 6:57, δι᾽ ἐμέ, because of me;[2] in Romans 3:25, διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν, because of the remission[3] [certain interpreters in Gerhard]:  Wherefore [Pagnine, Piscator, Beza, Knatchbull]; δι᾽ ὧν is the same as ἀνθ᾽ ὧν, because of which, etc.; that is, That former world perished by the flood because of those very things, because of which the world that now is is kept and reserved for fire unto the day of judgment:  Namely, because there were in those days, as there shall be in the last, mockers, etc., who were unwilling to believe the preaching of Noah [Knatchbull]:  For which cause:  For thus the Greeks use ἀνθ᾽ ὧν and ἐξ ὧν, denoting, not something in particular, but the entire matter that has been treated:  For which cause, that is, Because there was such a constitution, of which sort we spoke, of the Earth and Heaven [Grotius]:  But this was not properly the cause of the flood, but rather the sins of men, etc.:  And an example, in which δι᾽ ὧν is thus taken, is not yet given [Gerhard]) the, which then was (or, of that time [Castalio], that is, former, original [Estius, Grotius], in the times of Noah [Grotius]), world (that is, that is, either, 1.  the heaven and the earth [most interpreters in Estius]; or, 2.  the men that then were [Grotius, thus Beza, Castalio, Piscator], and the other animals [Castalio, similarly Beza, Piscator], and the whole surface of the earth [Vorstius, similarly Gerhard]), being overflowed with water (overwhelmed with waters, erupting both from the earth, and from the heaven, as the history of Moses shows [Grotius]), perished (Beza, etc.), Genesis 7:11 (Mede).  Wherefore the world was not always so, neither shall it always be the same (Castalio).  Therefore, it is not incredible that there is going to be a mutation of heaven and earth, etc. (Estius).  The world shall be destroyed, not indeed with water, which was able to be cited here, but with fire, etc. (Gomar).

Whereby; by which heavens and water, mentioned in the former verse, the fountains of the great deep being broken up, and the windows of heaven opened, Genesis 7:11.  Or, by the word of God, as the principal cause, and the water as the instrumental, which, at his command, was poured out upon the earth both from above and below.  The world; the earth, with all the inhabitants of it, eight persons excepted.  This the apostle allegeth against the forementioned scoffers, who said that all things continued as they were, when yet the flood had made so great a change in the face of the lower creation.



[1] That is, inferentially.

[2] John 6:57:  “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father (διὰ τὸν πατέρα):  so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me (δι᾽ ἐμέ).”

[3] Romans 3:25:  “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission (διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν) of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…”

2 Peter 3:5: The Purpose of the Epistle: To Remind of the Coming of the Lord, Part 5

Verse 5:  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that (Gen. 1:6, 9; Ps. 33:6; Heb. 11:3) by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth (Ps. 24:2; 136:6; Col. 1:17) standing (Gr. consisting[1]) out of the water and in the water…

[It escapes notice, etc., λανθάνει γὰρ αὐτοὺς τοῦτο θέλοντας]  For that, being willing (or, willingly [Pagnine, Piscator, Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Æthiopic], or, because they will [Syriac]) they do not know (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus), or, it escapes notice (Castalio), or, it escapes them (Beza), it escapes their notice (Pagnine, Piscator).  They take pains that they might not know, being unwilling to turn to the Scriptures, out of which they were able to learn the truth (Estius); they are unwilling to know (Menochius, thus Gerhard), what they ought and are able to know (Gerhard).  Their ignorance was crass and affected (Estius).  There is a certain ignorance deriving much from the will.  Therefore, concerning certain ones it is said, they were unwilling to understand.  If they read Moses, they are able to understand that this World consists of corruptible things, and consequently it is not strange if it is going to come to pass that the World itself is ruined (Grotius).  Others:  It escapes the notice of those that will this, that is, who think in this way (Heinsius,[2] similarly Mede, Hammond).  For θέλειν to the Greeks, and velle to the Latins, is often the same as to esteem, or to think.  Herodianus, σεβίζουσι δὲ ὑπερφυῶς, Ἀπόλλωνα εἶναι ἐθέλοντες, but they exceedingly fear, because they will Apollo to be, that is, they think.  Cicero, For the four natures, of which he thinks all things to consist, he wills to be from heaven.[3]  And we are wont to say, Those that will this, that is, think.  Thus 2 Corinthians 1:17, the things that I will, that is, I teach, or affirm.  So here θέλοντας means those affirming, that is, with authority, without any reason beyond Thus I will, etc. (Hammond).  The pronoun this points to what follows (Estius).

[That, etc., ὅτι οὐρανοὶ ἦσαν ἔκπαλαι, καὶ γῆ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ δι᾽ ὕδατος συνεστῶσα, τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγῳ]  That συνεστῶσα/standing is referred, either, 1.  as much to the heaven as to the earth, by a Zeugma[4] (Grotius, Œcumenius and Lapide and Lessius[5] in Gerhard).  The earth out of the water emerged, and the same stands firm δι᾽ ὕδατος, through the water.  The heaven also of water consists.  For the entire heaven, as much what we call aerial as what we call ethereal, to the Hebrews is called by one name, and is thought to be vapor of waters, as we have shown on Genesis.  The same heaven also stands δι᾽ ὕδατος, through the water, on account of the clouds which are in heaven, and partly above heaven, as it is seen in Genesis 1:7; 7:11; Psalm 148:4 (Grotius).  Or, 2.  to the earth alone (Beza, thus Estius, Gerhard), a description of which is here added, on account of the mention of the flood, which did not touch the heaven (Beza).  [Thus they render the words:]  That the heavens (he set down heavens in the place of heaven, because the Hebrews do not have the singular number [of this word]:  Heaven, namely, the aeriel, and the lowest region of this:  for to this point, but not higher, the waters of the flood reached [Estius, similarly Piscator]:  Thus it is taken by Augustine, Bede, and nearly all Theologians [Estius]) were (or, existed [Beza, thus Piscator, Gerhard], understanding, created [Piscator, Gerhard]) already of old (that is, in the time of Noah, from a comparison with the following verse, in which it is said, ὁ τότε κόσμος, the world that then was, namely, in the time of Noah [Piscator]:  But the destruction of the world by the flood is not yet treated, but rather the primeval creation of the world [Gerhard]:  from ancient times [Gerhard out of the Syriac], from the very beginning of the world [Estius, similarly Gerhard, Beza, Hammond]:  for ἐκ[6] has the force of intensification, as in 2 Peter 2:3[7] [Gerhard]; ἐξ ἡμερῶν ἀρχαίων, of ancient days, Isaiah 37:26[8] [Grotius]), and the earth (that is, ἦν/was, stood forth [Piscator, Vorstius, Gerhard], or, emerged [Grotius]:  Here he calls the terrestrial globe, composed of earth and water, the earth, so that the atmosphere might be included under heaven [Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 758]) of, or out of, the water (as of a part of itself, enclosed in its cavities [Piscator]:  out of the water, that is, out of that wet mass, which the Greeks call ὕλην, matter or mud/slime, out of the Books of the Phoenicians [Grotius]; out of that great deep, Genesis 1:1, 2 [Hammond, Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 755]; out of the immense abundance of waters, which formerl covered the earth, but now is in the Ocean, rivers, and subterranean places [Hammond]; out of the water it emerged, by which in the beginning it was covered [Drusius, thus Beza, James Cappel, Estius, Menochius, Gerhard]:  or, outside of the water [Vorstius, thus Gerhard], or, separated from the waters [Gerhard]:  In this place he does not understand some material cause, not even an efficient cause; but only the place containing [Vorstius]) and through the water (as through a foundation upon which it leans:  See Genesis 7:11; Psalm 24:2 [Piscator]:  or, in the water [Pagnine, Beza, Piscator], as floating in that [Piscator]:  Δι᾽ ὕδατος, through the water, is in the place of ἐν ὕδατι, in the water [Piscator, Vorstius, Castalio], as in 1 Peter 3:20[9] [Piscator]; or, among the waters, or in the midst of the waters [Mede, Hammond, thus Beza, Grotius], that is, surrounded by waters, that is, the upper waters, or the clouds overhanding it [Hammond], as if it were διὰ μέσου, through the midst [Mede’s Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophesie of Saint Peter 755]:  Διὰ/through is put in the place of בְּתוֹךְ, in the midst of [Grotius, Mede, Hammond], as in 1 Peter 3:20 [Grotius, Hammond]; and in 1 Corinthians 3:15, διὰ πυρός, by fire, that is, in the midst of fire [Hammond]; and in 2 Timothy 2:2, διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων, by many witnesses, that is, among many witnesses:  Thus Herodotus, διὰ νήσων, through the islands, that is, among the islands [Mede]:  Thus through the mountains to the Latins is the same as in/ among the mountains [Castalio]) consisting (or, subsisting, for by water, as it were, it is aerated [James Cappel], compacted, and stuck together [Menochius, thus Estius], so that one part of it might adhere to the other [Menochius], lest it disintegrate into dust [Estius, thus Menochius]; and so that it might be apt for the production and preservation of mixed bodies [Estius, thus Gerhard], otherwise it is going to be too crumbly, too dusty, and is going to give way to the feet of those walking upon it [James Cappel]:  Others:  συνεστῶσα, to stand forth or to consist, is put in the place of to be, as constare, to be sure or to consist, is in the works of Cicero, whatsoever things in nature and in the whole world constarent, are or stand forth, are united by friendship, and scattered by discord[10] [Castalio]:  Others:  συνεστῶσα, that is, having its own σύστασιν (consistency), just as also the Natural Scientiests speak, as we said on Colossians 1:17:[11]  Thus you also have σύστασιν κόσμου, the composition of the world, in Wisdom of Solomon 7:17:[12]  For the Earth, together with the Water, make up one globe, and under the earth there are vast reservoirs of waters, into which entire seas insinuate themselves, and whence all arise, and often hide themselves again in them:  See Psalm 24:2; Ecclesiastes 1:7, and what things were said there [Grotius]) by the word of God (Montanus, Erasmus, Illyricus, etc.).  That is, whereby He said, Let there be light, etc. (Hammond).  By the commandment of God, who separates the waters from the dry ground (Menochius).  By the commandment of God conjoined with His power, since by it the earth, standing in waters, is perpetually preserved (Vorstius).  But this is to be referred to the earth and the heavens, as it is evident from a comparision with the following verse and Genesis 1; Psalm 33:9; 148:5 (Gerhard, thus Estius).  He here refutes the argument of the mockers brought in the preceding verse.  The long-lasting, says he, and unchanging state of the world does not prevent God, who created the world, from being able to destroy it (Gerhard).  See what things are on John 1:1.  Philo, λόγῳ γὰρ αἱ τροπαὶ καὶ ἐτήσιοι ὧραι τεταγμένῳ καὶ παγίῳ συνίστανται, for by the settled and fixed word the solstices and annual seasons are joined together.  He means this, that those waters, which are in heaven and on earth, by the command and power of God both are shut up and are loosed, just as also the Fire (Grotius).  This verse is preparatory to the following Atheistical aphorism, that no punishments are reserved for the impious, no rewards for the pious, which he refutes by the example of the flood, verse 6.  So that he might prepare the way to this, he here describes the state of the lower world, which was constituted by God in such a way that, when it pleased Him, He was able to flood it.  For He set the earth in the waters, etc. (Hammond).  The sense of the verse:  It escapes their notice that the heavens and earth stand by the word of God, and hence that by the same word of God they are able to perish and be destroyed (Menochius).  All things do not always continue in the same manner, as those mockers feign, etc. (Tirinus).

For this they willingly are ignorant of; they will not know what they ought to know, and, if they would search the Scripture, might know.  That by the word of God; the command of God, or word of his power, as it is called, Hebrews 1:3:  see Genesis 1:6, 9; Psalm 33:6; 148:5.  The heavens were; were created, or had a being given them, Genesis 1:6.  Of old; from the beginning of the world.  And the earth; the globe of the earth, which comprehends likewise the seas and rivers, as parts of the whole.  Standing out of the water and in the water:  according to our translation, the sense of these words may be plainly this, that the earth, standing partly out of the water, (as all the dry land doth, whose surface is higher than the water,) and partly in the water, (as those parts do which are under it,) or in the midst of the water, as being covered and encompassed by seas and rivers.  But most expositors follow the marginal reading, and render the Greek word by consisting; and then the meaning may be, either, 1.  That the earth consisting of water, as the matter out of which it was formed, (Moses calling the chaos which was that matter, waters, Genesis 1:2,) and by water, from which it hath its compactness and solidity, and without which it would be wholly dry, mere useless dust, unfit for the generation and production of natural things.  If we understand the words thus, the argument lies against the scoffers; for the earth thus consists of and by water, yet God made use of the water for the destroying of the world; and so natural causes are not sufficient for its preservation without the power of God sustaining it in its being; and whenever he withdraws that power, in spite of all inferior causes, it must perish.  Or, 2.  The words may thus be read, the heavens were of old, and the earth (supply from the former clause) was out of the water, and consisting by, or in, the water; and the meaning is, that the earth did emerge, or appear out of, or above, the water, viz. when God gathered the waters together, and made the dry land appear; and doth consist by, or among, or in, the midst of the waters, as was before explained.



[1] Greek:  συνεστῶσα.

[2] Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655) was a classical scholar, serving for almost sixty years at the University of Leiden.  During the Synod of Dort, he acted as secretary on behalf of the States-General.  He contributed to the Elzeviers edition of the New Testament, and wrote Exercitationes ad Novum Testamentum.

[3] De Natura Deorum 1.

[4] A Zeugma is a figure of speech, in which two subjects are used jointly with the same predicate, although the predicate belongs properly only to one.

[5] Lenært Lays, or Leonard Lessius (1554-1623), was a Belgian Jesuit theologian.

[6] 2 Peter 3:5b:  “…that by the word of God the heavens were of old (ἔκπαλαι)…”  Πάλαι signifies of old.

[7] 2 Peter 2:3:  “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:  whose judgment now of a long time (ἔκπαλαι) lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

[8] Isaiah 37:26:  “Hast thou not heard long ago (לְמֵרָחוֹק; πάλαι, in the Septuagint), how I have done it; and of ancient times (מִ֥ימֵי קֶ֖דֶם; ἐξ ἀρχαίων ἡμερῶν, in the Septuagint, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps.”

[9] 1 Peter 3:20b:  “…while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (δι᾽ ὕδατος).”

[10] De Amicitia 24.

[11] Colossians 1:17:  “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (συνέστηκε).”

[12] Wisdom of Solomon 7:17:  “For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know the composition of the world (σύστασιν κόσμου), and the operation of the elements…”

2 Peter 3:4: The Purpose of the Epistle: To Remind of the Coming of the Lord, Part 4

Verse 4:  And saying, (Is. 5:19; Jer. 17:15; Ezek. 12:22, 27; Matt. 24:48; Luke 12:45) 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.

[Saying, Where, etc., ποῦ ἐστιν ἡ ἐπαγγελία τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ]  Where is the guarantee, or promise (that is, the thing promised [Mede]) of the coming (that is, the promised coming:  An expression of which sort is found in the preceding verse and in 2 Peter 2:18 [Gerhard]) of Him? (Erasmus, Beza, Piscator, Montanus), that is, of Christ, whose name preceded a little before, and, if that had not been, nevertheless it was sufficiently able to be understood from the matter itself (Grotius, similarly Gerhard), as in Hebrews 13:5 (Grotius), whose name those were unwilling to express out of ἐξουθενισμὸν/ contempt (Gerhard).  He here understands His glorious coming, to judgment (Gomar, thus Estius, Menochius, Gerhard, Mede, Tirinus), so many times promised and impressed (Tirinus).  It is the interrogation, either, 1.  of on doubting, that is to say, The Lord is slow, etc. (certain interpreters in Estius); or, 2.  of one denying (Estius, Vorstius, Gerhard, Gomar), that is to say, The promise of the coming of Christ is vain, and of the ruin and renovation of the world (Gomar, thus Mede).  Thus they were eager to remove from their followers the fear and hope of future things, so that they might immerse themselves completely in pleasures (Estius, similarly Gerhard).  In a similar way, the impious were eluding the Prophecies of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 12:27.  And it was said to Malachi, Where is that God of judgment, that is, who is coming to judge? Malachi 2:17 (Grotius).

And saying, Where is the promise?  Questioning or denying the great truths of the gospel, thereby to encourage themselves in walking after their own lusts.  Of his coming; viz. Christ’s, mentioned verse 2.  Possibly these scoffers might drop the name of Christ by way of contempt, not vouchsafing to mention it, as the Jews did, John 9:29; q.d. Where is the promise of his coming whom you expect?  His coming, to judge the world; q.d. His promised coming doth not appear, the promise of it is not fulfilled.

[Since, etc., ἀφ᾽ ἧς γὰρ οἱ πατέρες ἐκοιμήθησαν, πάντα οὕτω διαμένει ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως]  Ἀφ᾽ ἧς, from which:  Understand ἡμέρας/day (Grotius, Piscator, Estius, Gerhard).  And take ἡμέραν/day for time (Grotius).  [Thus they translate it:]  For from which (understanding, day [Piscator, Beza], so that it might be the Epoch from which it takes its beginning, excluding previous things, and including subsequent things [certain interpreters in Hammond]:  But this opinion does not satisfy; 1.  for the Epoch here is set down as far older than that, namely, from the creation; 2.  it is difficult to know which Fathers he has in view:  If you should say Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it could be opposed to this, that he takes the probation from the time of the flood, which was long before them:  Therefore, I would prefer to translate ἀφ᾽ ἧς as apart from the fact that, or, with this excepted, that is, that the fathers fell asleep, and their sons succeeded them, and men are not immortal, which does not pertain to the present arrangement [Hammond]) the Fathers (that is, the ancients, the Patriarchs and Prophets; you say that they believed in and proclaimed this coming [Estius, thus Gerhard]; or, the first and early Fathers, from whom the race of men was propagated [Menochius]) fell asleep (that is, died [Piscator, Estius, Menochius]; that is to say, they were not so much dead as asleep, or resting in the grave, as you say, so that this might be said mockingly, just as also the following word κτίσεως/creation [Gerhard, Beza], which they seize upon from the assumption of the Christians [Gerhard]), all things thus continue from the beginning of creation (Beza, Piscator, etc.), that is to say, Hitherto the world without mutation has endured.  Therefore, hereafter also it shall endure (Gomar, thus Estius).  As if He that is the author of nature could change nothing in it, or as if long continuance of time allows nothing in it for change (Estius).  Concerning the duration of the world, it is to be assessed in accordance with the power of God, as the preserving cause, and the will of God revealed in the word through the Prophets and Apostles (Gomar).  Manilius,[1] At that time, when the Greek ships devastated Pergama,[2] Arctos[3] and Orion were coming head on.  Consult Ecclesiastes 1:9 (Grotius).  Among the Hebrews Maimonides, excessively imbued with Aristotelian Philosophy,[4] disputes against the renovation of the World coming in the days of Messiah by this argument, that the world retains and follows its own custom.  But his opinion is refuted by Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel[5] (Mede).

For since the fathers, who died in the faith of Christ’s coming, and had the promise of it, fell asleep; i.e. died; the usual phrase of Scripture, which these scoffers seem to speak in derision; q.d. It is so long since the fathers fell asleep, (as you call it,) that it were more than time for them to be awakened, whereas we see the contrary.  All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; i.e. the world continues to be the same it was, and hath the same parts it had; we see nothing changed, nothing abolished, but still nature keeps its old course.  Thus they argue, that because there had been no such great change, therefore there should be none; because Christ was not yet come to judgment, therefore he should not come at all; not considering the power of God, who is as able to destroy the world as to make it, nor the will of God revealed in his word concerning the end of it.



[1] Marcus Manilius (first century AD) was a Roman astrologer, who wrote a long poem of five books entitled Astronomica.

[2] Pergama was the citadel of Troy.

[3] Arctos is the Great or Little Bear constellation.

[4] Moses Maimonides, or Rambam (1135-1204), is reckoned by many to be the greatest Jewish scholar of his age.  Maimonides’ command of the Hebrew Scriptures, Rabbinic tradition, natural science, and Aristotelian philosophy is staggering.

[5] Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508) was one of the great Spanish rabbis of his age and a stalwart opponent of Christianity, in spite of the danger.  He held fast to a literal interpretation of the Scripture, over against Maimonides’ philosophical allegorizing.  He commented on all of the Law and the Prophets.

2 Peter 3:3: The Purpose of the Epistle: To Remind of the Coming of the Lord, Part 3

Verse 3:  (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Jude 18) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, (2 Pet. 2:10) walking after their own lusts…

[Knowing this first[1] (that is, especially, as in 2 Peter 1:20[2] [Grotius], as a principal matter, and therefore especially necessary for caution [Gerhard])]  Ἔστε, be ye, is understood (Camerarius).  Know ye (Estius).

[They shall come in, etc., ὅτι ἐλεύσονται ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐμπαῖκται]  In the final, or latest, or last, days (verbatim:  in the final of days [Piscator], understanding time[3] [Camerarius]:  It does not designate a certain time, but signifies in the end or hereafter, as in Numbers 24:14:[4]  Jude on the same matter said ἐν ἐσχάτῳ χρόνῳ, in the last time[5] [Grotius]:  This phrase, after the fashion of the Hebrews, designates future times, whether far distant, or even at hand, as we taught on 1 Timothy 4:1:  For it is evident that Peter speaks here of seducers who were going to arise a little afterwards [Estius]:  Others:  He designates in the place the time of the Apostasy of the Church under Antichrist, according to 1 Timothy 4:1 [Mede] [see the Synopsis there]) mockers (Beza, Piscator, Pagnine, Montanus), or, scoffers (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Castalio).  Which in Hebrew is לֵצִים/scorners[6] (Hammond, thus Grotius).  Thus men are called, who mock piety (Grotius, similarly Hammond), who want to appear clever by contempt of God and sacrilegious audacity (Beza).  Others:  They are here called scoffers, not because they hold the religion of Christ as sport and jest, since they themselves very much want to be held as Christians, but because they skilled in the art of deception; because, while they deceive men, those they both deride in their hearts, and expose to the mockery of others (Estius).  In a manuscript it is ἐν ἐμπαιγμονῇ ἐμπαῖκται, in scoffing scoffers,[7] in the place of ἐν ἐμπαιγμῇ, in scoffing, for it is called ἐμπαιγμὴ, ἔμπαιγμος, and ἔμπαιγμα.  Now, it is the custom of the Hebrews, for the sake of emphasis, to add Substantives to Adjectives.  And thus the Latin reads, translating, in deception scoffers; Augustine cites in a manner more closely modeled upon the Greek, by mocking mockers.  Those  ἐμπαῖκται/ scoffers that were going to be, I interpret as the Carpocratians as before, who were denying that the resurrection of the body was going to come, as Augustine relates, and even more audaciously that, with Jerusalem now destroyed, they were yet understanding that this scheme of the World would remain, contrary to the way that most Christians, even the Apostles, had thought that it was going to be; for they had received nothing certain concerning this matter from the Lord, except that Jerusalem would be destroyed before the World.  Although I said Apostles here, I understand them before the time of the Revelation made to John (Grotius).

Knowing this first; especially, as being very necessary to be known.  The apostle having in the former chapter cautioned these saints against the more close enemies of the gospel, seducers and false teachers, here he foretells them of more open enemies, profane scoffers.  In the last days:  see 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:1.  Scoffers; profane contemners of God, and deriders of his truth, Psalm 1:1; 119:51; Isaiah 28:14, 22.

[After their own (that is, innate in them by nature [Beza]) lusts, etc.[8]]  The same words are found in Jude 16.[9]  See also 2 Peter 2:10[10] (Grotius); that is to say, as lusts lead or drive them (Piscator).  Those indulging the appetite, wantonnes, etc. (Menochius, thus Estius).  Now, that it is not strange that those who do not believe in the resurrection would indulge the flesh in every way, Paul teaches us, 1 Corinthians 15:32 (Grotius).

Walking after their own lusts; such as are natural to them; lusts of ungodliness, Jude 18.



[1] Greek:  τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες.

[2] 2 Peter 1:20:  “Knowing this first (τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες), that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”

[3] That is, in the final time of days.

[4] Numbers 24:14:  “And now, behold, I go unto my people:  come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days (בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִֽים׃; ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν, in the Septuagint).”

[5] Jude 18.

[6] For example, Psalm 1:1:  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful (לֵצִים).”

[7] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus.

[8] Greek:  κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι.

[9] Jude 16a:  “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts (κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτῶν πορευόμενοι)…”

[10] 2 Peter 2:10a:  “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ πορευομένους), and despise government.”

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