Job 18-19 / Zephaniah 1 / 2 Peter 3
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
The phrase "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" has been turned into all kind of inclusive nonsense concerning the identity and purpose of God with the present order of the temporary things. Concerning the identity, that He is indifferent to those He desires to live with; concerning the purpose, that He doesn't choose to put His life in particular humans. The idea that God is the way the humans want Him to be—fair & democratic to each of them, meaning He gives them all what they want (what's best for themselves) without having any preference about who lives with Him; makes Him into just a big machine without any personality or feelings, a generic god that has no real aim, identity or purpose except for that which the humans assign to it. Like an idol made by their own hands of wood or metal, their gods are fashioned to be what they want them to be, whatever suits them.
To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.
The purpose of the living God from the beginning is to create and retain a family of particular sons who know and love Him because they comprehend they have been particularly chosen to become part of that secret family. They share the heritage with those who have been chosen and called by the Father, and have responded to His call and given up what they love in the world for His sake because they understand the gravity of the call, and so He could give them new values, goals, dreams and aspirations—new lives which replace that which they are giving up. The process of transformation had already been started in those who were able to hear the living word as Peter did. That is who Peter is writing to here, not generically to everyone who ever heard his letters.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Those who were turning away from the life that he knew, he was trying to exhort to stay, not leave. He had no idea of the way things would eventually be regarding the name of Jesus, that its meaning would go away and would eventually mean a thousand different things to a thousand different groups, all claiming to possess "the truth" about him after the desolation, not one of those versions of the name of Jesus meaning what it meant to Peter.
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."
A human who was being enlightened about the animal nature and the freedom from it, which was being given by the life that the believers in the first century had living in them, was under the new covenant. There were plenty of dogs trying to pull these back into the world, just as the serpent pulled the first humans into its world of death, of not knowing God as the Father because they wanted to be powerful, independent, equal with Him—not content to be sons whose power came from the Father. So they were cursed with the nature we can now recognize, because we have eyes to see how that nature is bad and wrong, and keeps us from what the Father wants for us, what the first humans had before they died, the opposite of what we're able to have now, being dead and lifeless to God, natural beings who are merely another dying piece of the dying creation.
Eventually everything dies. Even the stars, which are the same as our sun (just a lot further away) die. These humongous, flaming balls of fire which seem to burn (live) forever compared to the life of a man, eventually do run out of fuel and die off. The life span of man seems also to last forever compared to other things that live and then die; like a blade of grass for instance, or a flea.
All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.
The humans think they will never die, and they build their hope up around lies that reinforce that for themselves and the other humans. To combat the reality that their physical body will cease to exist (reluctantly), they create lies that they will actually live forever, that their soul will live on either in a "heaven" or a "hell." Not surprisingly, because of the self-centeredness of the animal nature, those who adhere to that myth don't think they're going to end up in "hell," although they're able to imagine plenty of others who will. Why will the others go to hell and not them? Because in their minds they are the good people, and they transfer their own opinion about themselves onto whatever god they have made up, so of course their god thinks the same way about them that they themselves do, which is a totally survivalistic, animal thing to do. It's what all the humans do all the time without alteration from that fundamental fact.
All earthly religions are the same; each one has its own version of living forever, because that is the one reality that the animal cannot face—that it will one day just be no more, to exist no longer with any sort of consciousness. They also all have their own versions of good and evil along with what one must do to end up in one versus the other. Invariably these criteria become reduced to being, looking, and acting like all the other members of that particular group, even if they say something else. If you don't, they will eventually push you out, which is just what all animals do, on the basis of the system of conformity they have created. The fair, democratic and inclusive nature they have assigned to their gods isn't what they hold themselves to.
The urges of the animal's attachment to the dying, temporary, earthly things like natural family, money, identity, beauty, status, recognition, acceptance, respect, honor, admiration, success, individuality, freedom, all forms of appetite fulfillment, etc; are what distinguish between the animals and the sons of God. The humans run after any of what's available to them to get; the sons are strictly trained, over a long period of retraining, to not run after anything except what their Master ran after and sought while he was in his human body.
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (what you shall eat, drink and wear) will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
All that the sons need is enough to keep themselves alive and going along if that's the intention of the Father for them. To be able to find a peaceful existence, as free as possible from having to depend on the humans for what they need to exist, while being able to help each other in this command of the Son to seek the Father continually, is the son's aspiration. This life isn't as is programmed into the animals' hearts and minds, to get as much as they possibly can and surround themselves with the things they love and run after, because the sons know that those things are just insulation meant to appease their great fear which is never uncovered in them, to them. So all the human animals can do is just keep getting more tangible and intangible stuff to wrap around themselves to try to calm their fear, which is always and can only ever be just a band-aid.
The sons eventually come to know that this world is no good, and they aren't citizens of its temporary, seen order. They begin to understand that it's based on lots of different cycles of death, instead of the one source of life that is truly life. The sons, like Abraham, are increasingly more aware of the unseen order as they grow up into Him, which also gives them the ability to comprehend the nature of the earthly things—that they hold no actual value for them. Their comprehension about what is value becomes based more on the life of God which lives in them, the only thing that retains immortality, and therefore value; and less on the natural order of the dying things.
Therefore, the things they tend to want to wrap around themselves like all the animals do, must begin being pulled away from them. For their sake it is a slow and gradual transformation that effects this pulling and stripping away of the old insulating things of the animal, so they can begin to become naked like little children standing before their Father. Only in the total vulnerability of that nakedness can the honesty of what the Father commands, which is the purity of their heart before Him, begin to be established in them. Only then can they even start becoming like a son instead of a wild animal which cannot come near God.
The sons have a hope based not on what they can see, hear, read, or understand with their natural animal senses. They are given a hope that allows them to continue in this otherwise totally impossible transformation because it is much more real than anything which could be gained in the natural, even though it's secret, hidden and unseen (just like their Father). They are actually given a part of the only thing that doesn't die. Part of God's body, which is spirit so goes unnoticed, is actually transferred to them. When this happens they become born from above, because at that point they have the life, the spiritual DNA of God living in them. Therefore they actually are sons of God, born by His spiritual life in their natural bodies. They become transformed from death to life at that point, and as things go along that initial deposit is like a seed which grows; but only if attended to and nurtured by the gardener. As the life grows, so does the new consciousness of the son, which replaces the old consciousness of the animal. This is not to be confused with the so-called "born again" process assumed and taught by the christians, who think that process can happen to any common animal that has half a whim in his mind to think he can get something from the christian gods by conforming to their myths, which were made up by men.
While we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
It is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Peter was one who allowed this process to happen in him by responding to the Father's call, saying "Here I am Lord," so that he became mature in the new consciousness of a son instead of a common animal. Finally he was able to be useful to the Father and Son as a shepherd who could look after others who were newly born, young or unable to stand up. This is the group of people to whom Peter addressed in these letters as sons of God and brothers of himself, in the first century. He was also aware of his own identity and spiritual birth, baptized into the family of God by the only One who can baptize with the spirit.
I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the holy spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The embryo is suspended, totally submerged in a bath of water and blood, dead to the world and everything in it. Then comes the birth when it emerges out of the water and becomes a being which can be recognized, handled and loved by its parents. Being baptized by the spirit is the baptism into the family of sons who all wear the name of their Father, who live for the world they know is real, even though it isn't seen by the humans at large, and for the life that is truly life, which also goes unseen, just as God has chosen to go unseen and unnoticed by the humans. Everything else just dies, which is the natural pattern assigned to the visible creation.