Volume 48

The Lord's Coming (6)

J. Taylor

Page: 384

2 Peter 1:16 - 21, 2 Peter 3:1 - 18; Jude 14,15,20 - 25; 1 John 3:2,3

J.T. At our last reading we considered 1 Peter, in which the government of God is stressed, and "the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7)" is brought in, in connection with it. Now we have Peter's second epistle before us, and what is of importance, negatively, is that it deals with sin as such, accounting for the ecclesiastical, social, and general working of sin in the modern world. Jude treats of sin, too, but in the character of apostasy; that is another side of the truth strongly linked up with the coming of the Lord. John's first epistle treats of life, but the verses read direct our view to what we are to be. We are now the children of God - wonderful witness to the Father's love for us; what we shall be is not yet manifested; when it is manifested "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2)". So that John gives us an outlet to eternal things -- what we are to be -- a matter of the greatest importance in a positive sense.

Our first scripture refers to the incident on the Mount of Transfiguration, called here "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ", verse 16. It is intended to throw light upon the whole prophetic testimony, so that an immense range of thought is open to us, for the apostle says, "we have the prophetic word made surer, to which ye do well taking heed (as to a lamp shining in an obscure place) until the day dawn and the morning star arise in your hearts; knowing this first, that the scope of no prophecy of scripture is had from its own particular interpretation, for prophecy was not ever uttered by the will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of the Holy Spirit",

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verses 19 - 21. So that our scripture opens up an immense scope of truth; "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" -- what He was as seen on the holy mountain, and what the heavenly saints are as with Him -- and then the whole scope of prophecy is enlightened for us.

A.R.S. I suppose the morning star Peter speaks about is the same as the morning star in Revelation 22:16, and is connected with the coming of the Lord.

J.T. Yes; the allusion is to Christ known privately before He shines out as the Sun, when all shall see Him; it is how He is apprehended by the saints -- the assembly -- as coming for us, touching on the idea of the rapture; the star arises in our hearts.

C.A.M. Is this Matthew's view of the Mount of Transfiguration -- the Lord's face shining as the sun? You said that scene threw light on the whole range of prophecy.

J.T. Yes. That is how Peter presents it here -- "we have the prophetic word made surer". It is confirmed and established for the saints, through that testimony, "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". It is made surer; which would mean that it is made surer in our souls. There are "two unchangeable things, in which it was impossible that God should lie, we might have a strong encouragement", (Hebrews 6:18); the Mount of Transfiguration is like that; it is a confirmatory thing for us.

C.A.M. The fact that it became so wonderfully great in Peter's soul -- so much greater to him than it was when he first saw it -- should be an encouragement to us, should it not?

J.T. It should be an encouragement as indicating progression in the truth, which should mark us. The whole epistle has in mind that we should progress in the truth, having it made surer. The prophets -- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the minor prophets -- are

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all therefore opened up as an immense field of inquiry. The exercised saints of a century ago began with that side of the truth, inquiring into the prophetic map The power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, witnessed on the Mount of Transfiguration, sheds light on it for us.

A.P.T. Peter's quotation in this passage coincides with Matthew's gospel. Is there any significance in that?

J.T. Well, of course. Peter speaks here as an eye-witness; but what he says agrees with Matthew's account. Matthew enlarges on Peter in the section of his gospel with which Peter links on here, i.e. chapters 16 and 17. This is the only reference we get in Peter's ministry to this wonderful event. It would enter into the assembly's position, Matthew also having that in mind.

F.H.L. The glory speaking to Him would be in testimony. The words are addressed to the Lord Himself, but in testimony to others.

J.T. While the word "this" implies testimony to others, the "voice" is uttered to Christ. "He received from God the Father honour and glory, such a voice being uttered to him by the excellent glory", verse 17. It is the glory, as it were, speaking -- a remarkable way of putting the truth; like "in him all the fulness (of the Godhead) was pleased to dwell", (Colossians 1:19); that is the Deity, but in the term fulness , which has an active sense. And so, "the greatness in the heavens", (Hebrews 8:1), is to convey to our souls the greatness of the Deity in so far as it is comprehensible by us in the expressions used.

A.N.W. Would you say a word more on the use of the word coming in regard to the Mount? The conversation with Moses and Elias was in regard to His departure, but the Lord spoke of His coming: "the Son of man coming in his kingdom", (Matthew 16:28).

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J.T. I suppose attention is called to the movement in it. It says: "There are some of those standing here that shall not taste of death at all until they shall have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:28)". The movement involved is majestic in Matthew; it is the majesty of the King. But the two men in white at the Mount of Olives in Acts 1:11 say, "This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall thus come in the manner in which ye have beheld him going into heaven". The manner of His going is noted. This enters into our position now; the manner or way of His coming in and going out among us. We have in Proverbs 30:29 certain creatures that "are comely in going",. The Lord is supreme in that. Think of how He came in and went out amongst the disciples! But this wonderful scene on the Mount is a testimony to His coming royal glory as in Matthew; it is the Son of man coming in His kingdom. So that His face is like the sun; it is majestic in rule.

J.T.Jr. Is there a link with the thought of the coming of the Lord as dealing with the man of sin, whom He "shall annul by the appearing of his coming", (2 Thessalonians 2:8)? Is that suggestion also found in the scene depicted on the Mount of Transfiguration?

J.T. Yes. What is stressed in 2 Thessalonians is the appearing -- some peculiar effect in the appearing of His coming. There is something very much against evil in it. So that it is those who love His appearing that are especially honoured. But the coming is also in the passage.

J.T.Jr. The word "annul" is striking. The glory that is connected with the man of sin is completely blotted out, you might say, by the glory of Christ.

J.S. Is the shining as the sun, referred to in Matthew, connected with the outshining of glory?

J.T. I think it is in the sense of majesty and rule. Matthew gives a very full account of the transfiguration. He stresses the majesty of Christ.

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J.S. The outshining of His glory in His face .

J.T. Exactly; the sun represents rule.

W.R. Glory in that sense is stressed in Matthew's gospel. In Matthew 24:27,30 it says, "for as the lightning goes forth from the east and shines to the west, so shall be the coming of the Son of man", and then again: "they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory".

J.T. And in chapter 25, He sits down "upon his throne of glory" to rule the nations, Matthew 25:31; Matthew's viewpoint is majesty in view of government. It is a very great thing to have before us, because we are now made aware of an immensity of human and material power in the world; but we must contemplate what Christ will have as He appears in rule.

J.S. And does Matthew present Him as the Son of man in connection with universal rule?

J.T. That is right; Matthew usually enlarges the truth beyond Judaism, he is not honouring Judaism. The title "Son of man" is universal.

W.B-w. Would these "cleverly imagined fables" of verse 16 be in opposition to this truth?

J.T. Exactly; it is what Judaism was at that time; what it had become. It is carried over and greatly amplified in Christendom, including cleverly imagined fables. The Lord constantly repelled Judaism, because of what it had become through human tradition, and now Peter is carrying that forward, because it was about to take shape in the Christian profession. It has occurred to me lately that the mystery of iniquity is really Judaism developing in Christianity; Satan transferring the judaising spirit and principle into Christianity. The epistle to the Galatians deals with this; it has taken on enormous proportions, inclusive of old pagan customs. It entered in a comparatively small way, but now it has expanded into royalty -- certain leading ones

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reigning as kings. This was appearing in Corinth. It is a question of how the mystery of iniquity began; it is the work of Satan from the earliest days -- paganism introduced amongst Christians; but Judaism furnished the occasion of it.

W.B-w. The light of the Lord's coming, through prophetic ministry, exposes that sort of thing.

A.N.W. John, in his epistle, deals with the Christ and the antichrist, as well as the Father and the Son.

J.T. We have reference to the Father and the Son here, and the immensity of the glory; but glory in relation to affection. It is the "excellent glory" speaking to Christ as Son on the mount, but of course it is the Father; so that it is an immensity of glory and power, the Father's love entering into the speaking; it is His love for the Son. So that we are brought into Christianity, you might say in its fullest sense, in this wonderful opening up of the truth of the Mount of Transfiguration.

T.H. Paul sent Timothy to Corinth in view of his own coming; he says, "I will come quickly to you", (1 Corinthians 4:19). Does that correspond with what is before us as to the Lord's coming?

J.T. It was that the apostle, in his ways as they were in Christ, should be represented amongst the Corinthians in such a man as Timothy. Correspondingly, the Lord would now have His spirit developed in us in view of His coming.

C.A.M. Has God allowed the mystery of iniquity to increase to such proportions, instead of dealing with it, that His greatness in His final dealing with it may be magnified?

J.T. I think that is a side of the truth that we have, perhaps, hardly touched yet; why God allows sin to develop in this way; why He did not crush it at the beginning. It already works, the apostle says, with no suggestion of it having been overcome in the meantime. God would allow sin to develop in relation to Christianity.

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It was allowed to develop in the human race before the flood; then after the flood; then in Israel, and now in Christendom.

C.A.M. I suppose God uses the enormity of sin, coming into our consciences, to impress us with how mighty He is in being able to deal with it.

J.T. That is right; "that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful", (Romans 7:13). Why should God allow sin to become exceeding sinful? He permits us to see it in its exceeding sinfulness, and judge it accordingly. I think it takes most of us a life-time to judge it, and the Spirit sustains us in the judgment of it; that is, sin in ourselves. But as to the external working of sin, the man of sin is to be the fulness of it. We might ask. Why is God allowing all this? It is His way; He will bring sin out according to what it really is; and the man of sin, when he appears, will be the living exponent of it, so that God might deal with it at once and forever in that man.

J.S. Is it in order to make His power and wisdom known, as we see in Pharaoh being raised up in Egypt?

J.T. Just so; "for this very cause have I raised thee up, to shew thee my power; and that my name may be declared in all the earth", (Exodus 9:16). This has in view God's power in dealing with sin; what He has done in the cross of Jesus; what He is doing in our souls now, and what He will do in its full and universal development in the man of sin presently. We are on the very fringe of this development and we should judge present events accordingly; and this wonderful display on the Mount of Transfiguration is to illuminate our souls as to the whole prophetic ministry of the Old and New Testament that we may see how the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ enters into it; consideration of it confirms us.

W.B-w. It is called "the holy mountain" here; I suppose that would be in contrast to sin, would it not?

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The more we understand divine holiness, the more we abhor sin and judge it.

J.T. Quite so.

A.P.T. Would it seem that Peter is particularly qualified to touch this line, inasmuch as he had said to the Lord, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord", (Luke 5:8)?

J.T. Yes; we should note how God allowed sin to show itself in him later. He was certainly qualified to take up this matter, and as we proceed to chapter 3, we shall see how the question of sin is dealt with by him in this epistle.

A.R. In chapter 2, angels are bound in chains, for judgment in the day to come, whereas it would appear that Satan is allowed to go to and fro through the earth. God gives him, in measure, a free hand, does He not?

J.T. That is, I think, to bring out this matter of which we are speaking; the full development of sin; and to show that what is in the saints is according to what is in Christ. The Lord had said, "for the ruler of the world comes, and in me he has nothing", (John 14:30). There is nothing in Christ to respond to him at all. John's ministry would teach us to take account of ourselves abstractly, and so Satan has nothing in us , from that abstract point of view, for "every one begotten of God does not sin", (1 John 5:18). It is an immense leverage in the soul, to reach that point; the believer is thus immune, in measure, as Christ was; but then we are in a mixed condition, and that is where sin comes in amongst us, and is allowed scope in us. Romans takes up that side of the truth, basing the teaching in this respect on what we are de facto here. Chapter 7 contemplates sin in the believer, but God gives us power to resist it, to overcome it in ourselves; and I believe God orders conditions so that this might be worked out in us. John teaches us that what is in Christ is in us, and it stands against the wiles of the devil, but Romans

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teaches us how evil, owned to be in us, is overcome: "So then I myself with the mind serve God's law", Romans 7:25. That is the basis of it, and the Spirit in us maintains us in this resolution; hence the victory!

A.R. So that it says in Romans 16:20, "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly",.

J.T. The word "shortly", as used in that verse, would show that our deliverance is a progressive thing. The Lord was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, to bring out what He was, and what was in Satan too. He became an exposed and defeated foe.

A.B.P. Would 1 Corinthians 5 suggest that heaven makes use of Satan in dealing with gross evil?

J.T. He is used as an instrument. The wicked person, "being such", is delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh; Satan is compelled to do that.

A.B.P. It is said that God tempts no one, James 1:13. If we allow sin to remain unjudged in us, does God permit Satan to get at us, so that we might eventually humble ourselves?

J.T. Yes; as we see in Job's case. The book of Job enlightens us in a special way as to that.

J.S. Is liberty allowed to Satan for the destruction of the flesh?

J.T. Quite so; Satan charged God with having hedged Job around and he could not get at him, but God allows him to touch him, and this brings out that Satan had misjudged Job.

A.N.W. So that Satan would ever have access to us, as the flesh is unjudged; God would allow him to have access to us in that measure?

J.T. Quite so. And then, moreover, if God allows this, it brings out what we are, so that the apostle Paul says: "there was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan that he might buffet me", (2 Corinthians 12:7). It was not because of what was acting in Paul

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at the moment, but what might be; "buffet me, that I might not be exalted (2 Corinthians 12:7)". So that Satan is used as an instrument to save Paul from damage.

J.S. That would keep him balanced.

J.T. Quite so. He says, "For this I thrice besought the Lord that it might depart from me", but the Lord said, "My grace suffices thee", (2 Corinthians 12:8,9). The balance was necessary; the Lord did not remove it. And the apostle said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may dwell upon me(2 Corinthians 12:9)".

A.N.W. The Lord said, "Satan has demanded to have you, to sift you as wheat; but I have besought for thee", (Luke 22:31,32). Where would you see Satan's hand coming to light in Peter's fall?

J.T. I think it was in warming himself with the officers; in not holding himself aloof. He joined himself, outwardly at least, with the persecutors of Christ; he was sharing what they had, and it was there he was attacked by the devil.

J.S. Would the fact that he was warming himself indicate he was at some moral distance -- in the cold?

J.T. That is right; had he been entirely with the Lord in heart, he would not have been in that position. The Lord said, "I have besought for thee (Luke 22:32)". Satan had demanded not only Peter, but the twelve, I apprehend; but the word to Peter, "I have besought for thee that thy faith fail not (Luke 22:32)", would show that the Lord meant he was to be tested that way.

A.A.T. I suppose Judas fell into the hands of Satan, having no faith.

J.T. He was "the son of perdition" (John 17:12); it was a matter of the fulfilment of scripture. The question often arises as to why he was selected. Evidently it was that sin, working in a man in those circumstances , might come to light. It is one of the remarkable instances of how God orders in this respect; He would show the sin of Judas

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in its enormity. Here is a man accompanying the Lord as the other apostles did, and actually using the same power; having thus the greatest advantages during those years of service, and here is the result; it is the incorrigibleness of the flesh, brought to light under such circumstances. We are greatly privileged now, in having part in the assembly, but Satan may get at us notwithstanding. The nearer we are to Christ, the more he wishes to get at us and damage us.

J.S. It is encouraging that the work of God in us is immune; he could not overthrow that.

J.T. It is on that line that John's epistles help us. Such privileges as Peter and Judas and the other disciples had might be regarded as preventing satanic attacks, but the facts show that he got at them, and one is shown to be the son of perdition. He is the only one that is called that, except the "man of sin". The man of sin represents the same thing, only developing largely out of Christendom. Christianity, of course, implied nearness to Christ -- "part with me" -- nevertheless the man of sin is, in a sense, the outcome of Christianity in its public history, so that he also is called "the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)".

A.R. You mean what is seen in Judas is transferred to the antichrist?

J.T. Exactly. The mystery of iniquity is transferred and worked out in what is part of the public profession, but the profession involved, in the beginning, the greatest and most blessed privileges.

J.S. Would the man of sin be the full-blown product of the working of iniquity?

J.T. I think so. The history of Christianity publicly is the background of it; the mystery of iniquity has taken form in the public assembly.

A.N.W. Satan could only be the evil being he is by having been near God.

J.T. He was "the anointed covering cherub"(Ezekiel 28:14); he

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had thus a place near to God. He was on "the holy mountain of God", (Ezekiel 28:14). Jude speaks of persons coming in unawares; that is, they are Satan's emissaries, who enter the Christian sphere with a view to attack. John sees them going out ; he says, "They went out from among us, but they were not of us", 1 John 2:19. They had come in to corrupt the Christian body, which they did, and the man of sin is the outcome of that. He "sits down in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God", (2 Thessalonians 2:4). It is largely because he has known Christianity; that is, it is known in the system out of which his principles develop.

C.A.M. Referring again to Peter and to his qualifications to speak: the matter of his sin and the way Satan especially singled him out, and the answer to the Lord's prayer, all show why Peter was so qualified to pronounce on the case of Judas in Acts 1, and also the antichristian elements here. He really was a most triumphant man with regard to it all.

J.T. Quite so. You mean he had judged sin in these forms. The facts given as to Peter's sin and recovery show that he became, through the experience, more qualified for his great mission.

W.R. The apostle Paul had also to contend with these very principles. Are not Hymenaeus and Philetus examples? They were bringing in evil doctrine.

W.B-w. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, Sanballat and Tobijah made an alliance with Eliashib the high priest, to corrupt what there was of God inside. Would that correspond with the mystery of iniquity?

J.T. Just so; it indicates how Satan works in this respect.

A.N.W. John says that when Judas went out, "it was night", John 13:30. That is the night, as was never before -- the night of apostasy.

T.V.H. Does the parable of the talents apply to Peter and Judas, or is Judas not considered a bondman?

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J.T. Judas is not one of those left ; the bondmen in the parable are persons left in the absence of Christ, and you cannot include Judas there. The state described in the bondman who received the one talent is very low, because he confessed that he did not know the Lord, but thought Him to be a hard man, showing he did not know Him.

Now, having touched on this matter of sin in chapter 2, we see materialism in chapter 3 of this epistle. We should note, however, that in Peter it is the angels who had sinned ; not those who left their original estate, which is apostasy, as in Jude. It is sin that is in mind here, and Peter enlarges upon the working of sin; it covers what is around us -- the seething iniquity in high places; it is in every phase of the profession; it is seething iniquity. That is contemplated in chapter 2. In chapter 3 the apostle contemplates materialism ; that is, the mockers, "walking according to their own lusts, and saying. Where is the promise of his coming? For from the time the fathers fell asleep all things remain thus from the beginning of the creation. For this is hidden from them through their own wilfulness, that heavens were of old, and an earth, having its subsistence out of water and in water, by the word of God, through which waters the then world, deluged with water, perished. But the present heavens and the earth by his word are laid up in store, kept for fire unto a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men", verses 4 - 7. It should be borne in mind in contemplating this chapter that these mockers are walking after their own lusts, and they want to carry on their lustful conduct; also that, in principle, materialism is involved in modernism. Modernism is distinctively materialistic, but the instigators and propagators of it are walking after their own lusts. Lust is covered up by this material teaching; they are saying there is no change. They are covering up evil, and therefore the apostle begins by

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saying he would "stir up, in the way of putting you in remembrance, your pure mind", verse 1. The moral basis for understanding this epistle is having a pure mind.

J.T.Jr. The thought of walking after lusts appears in both chapters 2 and 3. It would seem that in chapter 2 it is the despising of lordship -- the authority of Christ denied -- and the same lust and walk denies His coming in chapter 3.

J.T. And they bring in materialism to prove their point. Their wills are brought into the thing. Lusts are at the bottom of the great general movement involving materialism, extending many years back. Men will carry on with this materialism and modernism to cover up the moral element beneath.

J.T.Jr. Whatever differences there may be in modern religion in the world, this lust is the same. It is the same also if it works amongst the saints.

W.B-w. In the second chapter we get the old world, out of which Noah was saved; then Sodom, out of which Lot was delivered, but when we come to the principle seen in Balaam, there does not seem to be anyone saved.

J.T. He represents the religious system we are speaking about; in it there is "the doctrine of Balaam", (Revelation 2:14).

W.B-w. You see persons saved out of Sodom, but this other condition seems to have no hope.

J.T. "I gave her time that she should repent, and she will not repent", (Revelation 2:21).

W.B-w. That would be the system of iniquity in Thyatira.

J.T. Yes. "Great Babylon has fallen, has fallen, and has become the habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hated bird", (Revelation 18:2). That is judicial.

J.T.Jr. The evil is spoken of as slavery of corruption,

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in chapter 2. It seems to be brought under domination, so that there is no way out.

W.B-w. Who is represented in the mockers in chapter 3?

J.T. I think they are such as would legalise the world, corrupt as it is now, and say. We must go on with things as they are. One is struck with that word, "knowing this first, that there shall come at the close of the days mockers with mocking, walking according to their own lusts, and saying ..." It is their walk first; then their saying. So that their teaching would cover up their lusts.

J.S. They have before them their own gratification.

J.T. Quite so. I am struck with that thought: they are walking after their own lusts, and saying something. But what they say is to be weighed in relation to their walk. So that if a man is saying anything, in this doctrinal sense, you have to get at his conduct and his general history. These will determine whether you can listen to what he is saying.

W.B-w. They are denying the coming of the Lord and the truth generally.

J.T. They are not openly saying there is no such thing as the coming of the Lord, but they are discrediting the truth, like the sons of the prophets who said to Elisha that they had fifty strong men and would go and see if they could find Elijah, 2 Kings 2:16. It is the same general idea; they had in mind to find him physically. Here, they are talking about materialism. What is called evolution is materialism; it is not something out of nothing; it is something out of something. So that it is not creation at all. All the sciences enter into this matter; not only are the heavens referred to, but the earth as well, and the first thing the apostle brings in is the judgment of "the world that then was", and he stresses the word of God . That is the thing for us to lay hold of. It is "by the word of God" in both cases-the world that perished and the present one, verses 5 - 7.

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J.S. And judicial blindness is brought in here, because of their own wilfulness; "this is hidden from them through their own wilfulness".

J.T. Will is working; they will resist whatever you say to them, and they will go to all pains to set aside the truth, to carry out their own will. It is bad enough to walk in lust, but to cover it up with will is more serious. And it is most specious, for it is worked out in the way of teaching.

R.S. And so 2 Timothy 3:7 speaks of the last times -- those who are "always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".

J.T. That is another class, similar to this, but pretending to learn. Modernists are not learning from the Bible; they are bringing in their own thoughts; their wills are in it, and they are covering up everything with materialistic doctrines; things that appeal to the natural mind. But in verse 8, the apostle says, "But let not this one thing be hidden from you, beloved". We are to see things. If our wills are at work we will not. Love marks true Christian teaching; Peter calls the saints "beloved". The apostle loved the brethren.

A.B.P. Has Peter earlier fortified the minds of the saints against these voices, by his reference to the voice from heaven in the previous chapter?

J.T. Quite so. Hence the temerity of these modernists in doing all they can to discredit the books of the Bible, beginning with Genesis; whereas the Lord, the One upon whom the heavens were opened, went back to Genesis; "Having begun from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself", (Luke 24:27). That is the one that is under the eye of God for His pleasure. These men are discrediting all that.

F.H.L. What is included in the commandment of our Lord and Saviour?

J.T. It is the idea of authority in the teaching,

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stressing divine authority as over against the doctrine of these men. They are basing everything on materialism. That is, they say that things have not changed since the times of the fathers. It is a Jewish reference, of course, whereas the Lord Jesus with His apostles brought in a new order of things altogether, and it is a faith matter. The dispensation of God is in faith, 1 Timothy 1:4. It is also a spiritual matter; but the idea of authority is stressed in it; our salvation depends upon submitting to divine authority. The evil men contemplated in this epistle "despise lordship"; they "do not fear speaking injuriously of dignities", 2 Peter 2:10. But true believers obey: "He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me", (John 14:21), and, "If any one love me, he will keep my word", (John 14:23). The reference to love for Christ in those Peter addresses is very beautiful. "Whom, having not seen, ye love", 1 Peter 1:8. The secret of loving His appearing is that I love Him .

A.R. Is that why he speaks in the end of this chapter about the day of the Lord? He does not seem to stir u their pure minds in regard to the rapture, but rather to look for the day of the Lord. Why is that?

J.T. It is over against the doctrines of the mockers. The apostle is stressing the judgment of the first world, and also that the world that now is -- the present heavens and earth -- is reserved for fire, unto a day of judgment of ungodly men. He keeps that in mind. What they are dealing with, and founding everything on, is to be destroyed with themselves . Over against all that, the day of the Lord will come as a thief. Connected with it is the day of God, verse 12. It is the Creator. They talk about the creation, but the Creator is coming in, and hence the day of God; it is the Creator's day, and it leads us into eternity. He is not going on for ever with the present order of things, of which the scoffers were making so much. It is to be destroyed! There will be

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a new heaven and a new earth. Where will the scoffers be then? On what will they found their doctrines then?

C.A.M. If we come to a judgment in our souls as to what the first world, destroyed by water, was, perhaps suggested in John the baptist's ministry -- we would not have to be destroyed by fire. I suppose this generation you are speaking of is the same, in principle, as that generation of vipers, which John denounced?

J.T. Quite so. So that Peter speaks of being saved by water. Paul says there are certain who will be saved so as by fire. That is, they will be saved as through fire, but their works will be burnt up. Here it is the judgment of ungodly men who are to be destroyed with the present heavens and earth.

J.S. Judgment by fire is cleansing.

J.T. Yes. There is nothing so drastic as cleansing through fire. We ought to keep in mind these two material worlds, both maintained or destroyed on the principle of the word of God, that is the idea of our position. We are linked up through faith with the world that God has before Him; a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Faith lay hold of it.

A.B.P. Does the principle apply in the history of a soul, that what he is according to nature can be cleansed in relation to the waters of baptism; but evil which he allows as a Christian must be disposed of by fire?

J.T. It is a very solemn thing that while the believer contemplated in 1 Corinthians 3:15 shall be saved so as through the fire, his works shall all be burned up. They are no better than those of the ungodly. They are all consigned to the fire, but he is saved in that way.

A.N.W. Why is the material system involved in the overthrow with the moral system?

J.T. It is a question of divine purpose -- here expressed in promise -- a new heavens and a new earth. But the destruction of the present heavens and earth is linked

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with that of ungodly men; as if their conduct affected the material universe. The force of this would be in reference to the place material things had with them.

W.B-w. They say, "from the beginning of the creation"; is that the idea? The reference to the old world before the flood is material, and the present evil world is material too.

J.T. The first had "its subsistence out of water and in water ... through which waters the then world, deluged with water, perished", 2 Peter 3:5,6. That is material, but it had its subsistence "by the word of God". And the present heavens and earth "by his word are laid up in store" for judgment. God is showing that the mockers base their teaching upon what is going to be burnt up. God will bring in a new heaven and a new earth! That is the thought; we understand it because we are already partakers of the new creation.

W.B-w. And Peter brings in "our beloved brother Paul", verse 15, to strengthen the truth of which he is speaking.

J.T. That shows how the apostles worked together. How glad you are to bring in another brother's ministry to confirm what you are saying!

J.S. So that the fire will be the test; the works of man, however long they may last, shall ultimately be burnt up and disappear.

J.T. Yes. The earth and the works that are therein shall be burnt up. What a day of materialism it is! We read of a certain king in the future -- evidently a subordinate person in the east -- who will worship the "god of fortresses", and not the god of his fathers, Daniel 11:38. It is materialism. Today, in the world, it is largely a question of armaments, and with those who regard them most, God is left out.

C.W.M. Is there a suggestion in verse 12, that not only are we waiting for this, but we can hasten it?

J.T. Very suggestive! The passage says, "what ought

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ye to be in holy conversation and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God", verses 11,12; as if increase in these matters would hasten that day; so that if I am asking the Lord to come, I should be characterised by these things.

F.H.L. Due to the idolatrous worship of the heavenly bodies, they will also be destroyed, as unclean.

J.T. Quite so.

G.H. One is impressed by the beautiful language that Peter uses in his epistles; for instance, "excellent glory" and "his majesty" and "our beloved brother Paul".

J.T. It conveys affection and admiration for what is of God.

It has already been remarked that Peter speaks about the angels sinning , but Jude says, "And angels who had not kept their own original state, but had abandoned their own dwelling, he keeps in eternal chains under gloomy darkness, to the judgment of the great day", Jude 6. That is apostasy ; they did not keep their original state. Jude speaks about the decline of Christianity and conditions of apostasy that surround us today. It is a most solemn consideration. The whole epistle, we may say, deals with that, and therefore he brings in what Enoch said. He prophesied, we are told, "as to these, saying. Behold, the Lord has come amidst his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all; and to convict all the ungodly of them of all their works of ungodliness, which they have wrought ungodlily, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him", verses 14,15. That is what Jude is dealing with, and he sees the Lord coming amidst the holy myriads.

A.R. Jude goes beyond Peter, does he not? Peter stops with Balaam, whereas Jude goes on to the sin of Core, which is against the priesthood; it is open apostasy.

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J.T. Quite so. Typically, Core's rebellion was against Christ as Apostle and High Priest.

A.P.T. Jude is fully in line with Peter as to apostolic authority: in verse 17 he says, "But ye , beloved, remember the words spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jude 17" and then he corresponds with Peter also in his reference to the mockers: "that they said to you, that at the end of the time there should be mockers, walking after their own lusts of ungodlinesses", Jude 18. The concurrence of their spiritual communications is remarkable.

J.T. Quite so. The unity of thought in the writings of Peter and Jude, Peter's reference to Paul's writings, and the reference to the leaders of the saints in Hebrews 13 -- undoubtedly by Paul -- show how the Lord's prayer in John 17:22,23, was fulfilled.

A.R.S. Would the fall of the angels be the origin of apostasy? It says that certain angels fell from their first estate.

J.T. Yes. Jude says that they kept not their original estate. It is not simply that they sinned, but they left the position that God assigned to them.

A.R.S. That is, what we see around us commenced with certain angels; and sin commenced with Satan.

J.T. Yes. "From the beginning the devil sins", (1 John 3:8); sin in all its features began in him.

A.R. It makes the position of Christendom very humbling, that what had such an origin is developing in it.

J.T. These epistles enable us to see what is in mind in the development of sin; the actual beast has not yet come, but we are being made acquainted with him in these two epistles, so that we may learn, by what is current among the nations, to count the number of hi name. These epistles help us to do that. Peter deals with sin in its varied forms; Jude, too, of course, but he deals with it as in apostates, men who have actually

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left the estate which God assigned to them, as professed believers in Christ. The whole position is not yet openly apostate; it is only as under the man of sin that it becomes that fully; but it is being developed, and that is the point for us.

A.B.P. Does verse 11 give three stages in the development of apostasy?

J.T. Yes. Notice the word "woe", a word found only once in the other epistles, although many times in Revelation. It says, "Woe to them! because they have gone in the way of Cain"; that is natural apostasy; "and given themselves up to the error of Balaam" Jude 11; that is religious apostasy; "and perished in the gainsaying of Core", which is apostasy from government; from authority in Christ the Apostle and High Priest.

A.N.W. Do you mean religious government?

J.T. It would be mainly; it is abandoning authority; and of course that is religious authority in the case of Core, but then it has spread out into various forms, especially Bolshevism, that awful thing in Russia. That is the abandonment of divinely appointed authority.

J.H.E. Do we see the beginning of that in all who were in Asia having turned away from Paul, as in 2 Timothy 1:15?

J.T. Yes; they had forsaken Paul, in whom Christ's authority was vested. The Corinthian epistles stress that authority.

J.S. "These are spots in your love-feasts", (Jude 12). Does that not come home to us?

J.T. Ungodly persons are seen as going out , as recorded by John; they have crept in , according to Jude. The system of which we have been speaking arrogates everything to itself, so that these persons are "they who set themselves apart, natural men, not having the Spirit", Jude 19. That is monasticism. What a showy thing it is! It is pretended purity without having the

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Holy Spirit. Then, over against that, is the beautiful word, "beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life", verses 20, 21. That is pure Christianity as introduced by Christ through His apostles.

A.R.S. The apostasy of which we have been speaking will be destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's coming.

J.T. "By the appearing of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8)".

A.R.S. All the darkness will then be dispelled.

A.R. Why does he say, "keep yourselves in the love of God", and then, "to him that is able to keep you without stumbling"?

J.T. He is handing us over to God, as it were, as Paul handed the Ephesian elders over to God, saying, "I commit you to God", (Acts 20:32). That is a magnificent statement. Here it is, "to him that is able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you with exultation blameless before his glory, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from before the whole age, and now, and to all the ages. Amen", verses 24, 25. That is a wonderful ascription of praise to God.

J.S. It is a bright finish to this epistle.

J.T. Quite so; you can understand how a man like Jude would feel this. He was going to write about the gospel -- our common salvation -- but instead he writes this epistle, because of the urgency of the thing. How sensitive he was that they needed God ! And so do we need God to keep us "without stumbling".

E.S. You get here, those "Walking after their own lusts" Jude 18 -- but Enoch walked, too.

J.T. Yes. He walked with God and he prophesied about these wicked men who walked after their own

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lusts. The Lord will come amongst His holy myriads to deal with them.

J.T.Jr. I suppose that God's pleasure in Enoch coupled with the thought of "beloved" would open up the range of Ephesian truth.

W.B-w. Will you say something about the verse read in 1 John 3, "And every one that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure", verse 3?

J.T. I thought we might finish with that. There is not time to say much about it; but it is such an outlet. It is characteristically John's ministry. He is dealing with the subject of life -- Christ being it -- and he calls attention to the "love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God. For this reason the world knows us not, because it knew him not", 1 John 3:1. And then he uses the same word that Peter and Jude use, "Beloved, now are we children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure". It is the thought of what we are to be, as he says, "what we shall be has not yet been manifested". It seems to have in mind the full position of Christ in heaven; not simply what He was during the forty days after He rose, but what He is now; for we are to be conformed to His "body of glory"; not simply His body in resurrection, but in glory .

J.S. Hence the need of having this hope is very important.

J.T. Quite so; and to purify ourselves as He is pure.

I was thinking of the word, "if it is manifested". He is thinking of what we are to be; it synchronises with Christ's manifestation: "For we shall see him as he is".

W.B-w. I think you have said that Solomon on the

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throne typifies Christ as He is ; David typifies Him as He was . According to Philippians, we are to have bodies like unto His own body of glory, that is, like Christ as He is.

J.T. That is what I had in mind.