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Read Introduction to 2 Peter

 

“Knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.”

 

just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me

Peter ministered over thirty years, knowing that he was not going to die a natural death. He knew he was not going to die in bed. The Lord Jesus revealed this to him in the gospel of John,

Jn 21:18-19, “’Most assuredly, I say to you [Peter], when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”

Peter’s death hung over his head for thirty years. All of us know that we will die eventually if we are not raptured first, but most of us think we will die a natural death. Peter knew he was to die a violent death. Most of us think that we will die of natural causes. That is a comforting thought to some extent.

Peter now writes Second Peter in the face of his imminent death. He knew that this would be the last time he would write to them. Paul knew when he wrote Second Timothy that that epistle would be his last letter as well.

2 Ti 4:6, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure [death] is at hand.”

Paul gives his perspective on death in Philippians,

Php 1:21-24, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Paul could not help the folks at Philippi if he had died and gone to heaven. This statement gives a lie to spiritism (contacting the spirits of the dead in the other world).

A great section of Scripture that deals with the body and death is 2 Corinthians five. The word “tent” occurs twice in the opening verses.

2 Co 5:1-4, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”

Paul talked of being in the body and out of the body,

2 Co 12:2-4, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

The only part of the human being that “sleeps” when death occurs is the body. The soul does not sleep. “Soul-sleep” is not Scriptural. The word “cemetery” means “sleeping place,” but it is only a “sleeping place” for the body.

PRINCIPLE:

Death causes us to take stock of eternal things.

APPLICATION:

When death approaches, it makes us all take stock. Peter’s death was coming near; therefore, he was taking stock of himself and those to whom he was writing. The thing that is upon his heart is truth. He wanted them to remember certain truths or doctrines about going to heaven.

Peter saw clearly that the body is not the soul. It merely houses the soul. The body is destructible, but the soul is not. Except for the time of the rapture, all of us will put off our bodies. Our bodies will lie in the grave until the resurrection of our bodies.

Does Psalm 116:15 sound strange to you?

Ps 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord

Is the death of His saints.”

If using the word “precious” in terms of death is strange to you, it is because you are earth-bound. You are chained to the values of this life. You are earth oriented rather than heaven oriented.

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