2 Peter 3:3 Index
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,"
Research Material

"Knowing this first . . . " (2 Peter 1:20; Jude 18)

  • Here the apostle uses the phrase as a preface to the statement he is about to make, which must be considered against the background of the combined teachings of the prophets and the apostles. Peter does not cite any specific passage from the prophets or the apostles, but assumes that what he is about to say will be recognized as consonant with the general tenor of their teachings on the subject under discussion. (7BC 613)

" . . . there shall come . . . " (1 John 2:18; Jude 18)

  • On the basis of the teachings of the prophets and the apostles, Peter's readers already knew what to expect "in the last days." The apostle had warned them that "the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7), and apparently considers his counsel timely and appropriate. (7BC 613)

" . . . in the last days . . . "

  • Literally, "upon [the] last of the days." The word "last" may be taken in the singular sense as referring to one last day, or, as textual evidence favors, in the plural, "the last days." It is his purpose to enlighten his readers so that they will not be led astray by those who scoff at the thought of a soon return of the Saviour. He is not here making specific statements regarding the time of Christ's coming, but is bent on preparing his flock for "the last days" whenever those days may appear. (Romans 13; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 1:1). (7BC 613)
  • A similar condition of things exists now. That which is lawful in itself is carried to excess. Appetite is indulged without restraint. Professed followers of Christ are today eating and drinking with the drunken, while their names stand in honored church records. Intemperance benumbs the moral and spiritual powers and prepares the way for indulgence of the lower passions. Multitudes feel under no moral obligation to curb their sensual desires, and they become the slaves of lust. Men are living for the pleasuresof sense; for this world and this life alone. Extravagance pervades all circles of society. Integrity is sacrificed for luxury and display. They that make haste to be rich pervert justice and oppress the poor, and “slaves and souls of men” are still bought and sold. Fraud and bribery and theft stalk unrebuked in high places and in low. The issues of the press teem with records of murder—crimes so cold-blooded and causeless that it seems as though every instinct of humanity were blotted out. And these atrocities have become of so common occurrence that they hardly elicit a comment or awaken surprise. The spirit of anarchy is permeating all nations, and the outbreaks that from time to time excite the horror of the world are but indications of the pent-up fires of passion and lawlessness that, having once escaped control, will fill the earth with woe and desolation. The picture which Inspiration has given of the antediluvian world represents too truly the condition to which modern society is fast hastening. Even now, in the present century, and in professedly Christian lands, there are crimes daily perpetrated as black and terrible as those for which the old-world sinners were destroyed.
    • Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ's second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God's law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God's moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law.
    • Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God's word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3), and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:4). Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land? “There is no cause for alarm,” they cry. “Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists.” But this doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). The apostle says that “in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness. (PP 101-103)

" . . . scoffers . . . "

  • Looking down through the ages to the close of time, Peter was inspired to outline conditions that would exist in the world just prior to the second coming of Christ. “There shall come in the last days scoffers,” he wrote, “walking after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3), and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). But “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Not all, however, would be ensnared by the enemy's devices. As the end of all things earthly should approach, there would be faithful ones able to discern the signs of the times. While a large number of professing believers would deny their faith by their works, there would be a remnant who would endure to the end. (AA 535-536)
  • The proclamation of a definite time for Christ's coming called forth great opposition from many of all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless, Heaven-daring sinner. The words of prophecy were fulfilled: “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3), and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Many who professed to love the Saviour, declared that they had no opposition to the doctrine of the second advent; they merely objected to the definite time. But God's all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not wish to hear of Christ's coming to judge the world in righteousness. They had been unfaithful servants, their works would not bear the inspection of the heart-searching God, and they feared to meet their Lord. Like the Jews at the time of Christ's first advent they were not prepared to welcome Jesus. They not only refused to listen to the plain arguments from the Bible, but ridiculed those who were looking for the Lord. Satan and his angels exulted, and flung the taunt in the face of Christ and holy angels that His professed people had so little love for Him that they did not desire His appearing. (GC 370)

" . . . after their own lusts."

  • Literally, "according to their own lusts," that is, as their lusts prompted them. These scoffers are akin to the false teachers in that they are governed by their own passions (2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 2:10). Their passions decided their theology - sensual-minded men cannot ardently desire the return of the Sinless One. (7BC 613)