“But 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 done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Peter 3:10-12 NIV)
As a teacher, I was always intrigued by the level of interest even new believers exhibit in end-time prophecy. We want to understand the signs of Christ’s return. When will it happen? Will we be raptured before the great tribulation preceding it? While many may argue otherwise, the Bible does not unequivocally resolve those questions. Jesus himself said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36 NIV)
As one who has studied and taught prophecy from the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, 2 Peter, and Revelation, I contend that the most important question for us to consider regarding Christ’s return is imbedded in 2 Peter 3:11 – Until he comes, what kind of people ought we to be? The Bible fully provides the answers to that question.
As the Body of Christ, called to be salt and light to the world around us, our time is surely better spent focusing on the answers to that question and acting accordingly rather than arguing with one another over disputable matters of eschatology or other theological issues that divide us.
What the world sees in our character made visible in our actions is our greatest witness. It opens doors of opportunity for testifying about the source of our hope. (1 Peter 3:15) And, as Peter suggests in 2 Peter 3:12, it just might hasten the day of our Lord’s return.
“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 1:7-8 NIV)