Hope in the Second Coming
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 13 Tuesday
Read second, third and fourth paragraphs,
“Peter highlights two things that will take place in the future: the last judgment and the fiery destruction of evil. In other words, he shows that although there is persecution now, justice and judgment will be done, and believers will receive their eternal reward.
Peter mentions judgment on three separate occasions (1 Pet. 1:17; 4:5, 6, 17). He says that God the Father judges all humans impartially according to their deeds (1 Pet. 1:17). He notes that Jesus Himself stands ready to judge the living and the dead (1 Pet. 4:5). He also makes the intriguing observation that judgment starts with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17).
Peter also emphasizes that “the godless” will be destroyed in a worldwide firestorm (2 Pet. 3:7).”
What does this mean?
Why does judgment start with the house of God? What do you understand the judgment to be? Are you thinking through human law lens and conceiving of a judicial process, or through design law in the Great Controversy and thinking of Romans 3:4 “God may you be proved right when You are judged”?
Who will be the first to make the right judgment about God, those who have never heard of God, or those in the house of God? This is very straightforward.
And it is what is taught in Revelation chapter 7 about the servants of God being sealed in their foreheads before the great multitude who are saved. The servants are those in the house of God who are first settled into the truth and who give the final message of mercy which leads others to make a right judgment about God and be saved.
What do you understand the fire to be and how do you explain it?
Does the Bible describe two fires? What is the sequence of these fires?
The wicked are destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming, what about the righteous, do they avoid that brightness or do they live in it? What of Daniel 7, the ancient of days takes his throne and rivers of fire come out, who is in the fire?
Yet there is a fire in which the elements melt in the heat? What is the difference?
The fire of God’s presence, the fires of truth and love burn through lies and selfishness and the wicked, those solidified in rebellion, surrender their lives not wanting to live in a universe of love and truth. After the wicked are dead, then the fires of combustion burn on the earth and the earth is recreated in perfection.
Continuing with today’s lesson;
“Peter spends some time dealing with problems that arose about whether or not Jesus is indeed coming back (2 Pet. 3:1-10). He points out that the “delay” of Jesus’ second coming is to allow more people to repent and be saved. He also points out that the certainty of a future reckoning should convince everyone to live a holy and blameless life.
Thus, however focused Peter is on the here and now and on practical Christian living, he still keeps before his readers the future hope that awaits them. In short, whatever the circumstances at the moment, they need to press on ahead in faith and obedience.
Why, too, must you press on ahead in faith and obedience, regardless of your circumstances? What other option is there?”
Could you say, “I do what I do as a Christian because I’m finding the longer I live the more it is right and sensible to do so. And I’m seeing that more, the longer I live. And I have great and increasing admiration and respect for the one who so commanded me, in the days of my ignorance and immaturity, when the only reason why I did those good things or avoided those bad things was that he told me to. And he had the power to reward and destroy. Or I loved him and wanted to please him. At least it protected me. But I’ve come to the place now where I’m more and more beginning to do what’s right because it is right. And I haven’t had to think, ‘there’s a command not to murder my mother-in-law,’ for a whole year. And my mother-in-law has never been so safe!” You see, if you have to check the Ten Commandments every morning not to murder your mother-in-law, your mother-in-law is walking on thin ice all the time. I think because God loves mothers-in-law, and knows our tendencies, he had to say, “Thou shalt not murder thy mother-in-law.” Shame on us that we required that!
What an awful moment in God’s family, when he had to gather his children around and say, “I want all the murdering and the hating to stop. And I want all the stealing, and the cheating, and the lying, and the immorality to stop. Please!” That means it was going on. There was a day when God didn’t have to do that, and there’s a day coming when he won’t have to do it again. Remember the new covenant? It will all be written in our hearts, and we will do what is right because it is right. God will not have to lecture us a million years down the line and say, “I want all the murdering up here in Heaven to stop.” We won’t have hated a soul for a million years. We’ll be doing what’s right because it is right. Now if you heard your children behind the door saying, “Let’s do what our folks want. I mean, you’ll have to admit that everything they’ve asked us to do makes such good sense, we ought to want to do it anyway.” And you get the impression that even after you’re dead and gone, your children will go on doing what’s right because it is right, because now they’re maturing, and they’ve come to see.
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