Is God Late On Fulfilled Prophecy?
In the previous study, we ended in Isaiah 28:14-19, on a discussion of the scoffers. Now we address the subject, A Day Is As A Thousand Years – Is God Late on Fulfilled Prophecy? Before delving specifically into that question, it is essential that we continue our thoughts on the scoffers. We pointed out that God prophesied some 800 years before it occurred that they would come with lies saying the end was not near.
That means that if they were lying as scoffers against an imminent coming, then God, Christ and the Apostles had to have stated the truth about it! In order for something to be a lie, there must be some truth from God to establish the lie of the scoffers. Observe the certainty of judgment expressed in the text. “Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overflowing scourge passes through, Then you will be trampled down by it. As often as it goes out it will take you; for morning it will pass over, and by day and by night; it will be a terror just to understand the report.” (Isa. 28:17-19).
Fulfilled Prophecy – Isaiah Affirmed the Certainty of God’s Promised Judgment
Notice that the “hail” will sweep away the refuge of lies, the waters will overflow the hiding place. Thus, the scoffers cannot hide in their lies. The two metaphors which God uses are those from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (hail) and may also include the destruction of the Egyptians in the plagues of Moses (a very fitting destruction symbol for national Israel) and the flood of Noah (overflowing waters). Thus, God’s certain judgment would counter the lying scoffers.
What were the scoffers lying about? They were asking, “Where is the promise of His Coming?” They were saying what all students of eschatology have recognized, namely that the scriptures taught an imminent end in the first century. They balked at the concept of imminent fulfilled prophecy. Note these words from Word Bible Commentary:
“In a Christian context a special significance attached to the death of the generation of the apostles, for the there were several well-known sayings of Jesus which seemed to predict his Parousia within the lifetime of his contemporaries (Matt 16:28 par. Mark 9:1 par. Luke 9:27; Matt. 24:34 par. Mark 13:30 par. Luke 21:32; John 21:22-23; cf. Matt 10:23). Thus the critical point for the nonfulfillment of the promise of the Parousia came at the time when it could be said that the generation of the apostles had died. The objection of the scoffers was not just that a long time had elapsed since the promise was given, but that the promise itself had set a time-limit within which it would be fulfilled and this time limit had passed.” Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 50, 2 Peter, p. 291.
We would add this correction to the above. The entire generation had not completely died out. The time limit though very near had not yet passed when Peter wrote. Peter and John, were yet alive along with their readers, so these scoffers came near the end of their generation. As you will note, the requirements Christ gave for fulfilled prophecy were as follows:
- before all “some” who stood in His presence died
- before that generation [completely] passed
- before the apostolic ministry to Israel ceased
- before the Apostle John died
Fulfilled Prophecy is Very Specific
So, there is no question what the scoffers were scoffing at, and there is no question that most people, even learned Bible scholars believe that God failed on His promise or at least is now almost 2000 years late. But how can that be an overturning of the refuge of the scoffers lies? People yet ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” And the response continues to be, God is on a journey. Perhaps he sleeps or some other irrational explain-away-the-simple-words-of-scripture.
The versus of Isaiah 28:14-19, affirm the immutability of God’s word and the inevitability of judgment. It was the actual coming of judgment that swept away the lies of the scoffers. If that judgment did not so occur, then the lies of the scoffers have prevailed and God is made out to be the big fibber! Shame on Futurism! It is impossible for God to lie, and that covers prophecy as well.
How sad it is that men use the very scripture that the Holy Spirit used to say God is not late, to make Him say He is late? ” Word Commentary offers this translation of 2 Peter 3:8-10.
“My dear friends, do not overlook this one fact, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as one day. The Lord is not late in fulfilling the promise, according to some people’s idea of lateness, but he is forbearing toward you, because it is not his will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a roar, the heavenly bodies will be dissolved in the heat, and the earth and the works in it will be found. [wanting]
In the next study of fulfilled prophecy we will further examine the relationship of 2 Peter 3 and Isaiah 28.