2 Peter 3:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

New Living Translation
They will say, "What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created."

English Standard Version
They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Berean Study Bible
"Where is the promise of His coming?" they will ask. "Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation."

Berean Literal Bible
and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For from the time that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."

New American Standard Bible
and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."

King James Bible
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation."

International Standard Version
by saying, "What happened to the Messiah's promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of creation."

NET Bible
and saying, "Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation."

New Heart English Bible
and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they say, “Where is The Promise of his coming? For from when our forefathers fell asleep, everything continues in the same way from the beginning of creation.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
by saying, "What's happened to his promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of the world."

New American Standard 1977
and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the day in which the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

King James 2000 Bible
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

American King James Version
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

American Standard Version
and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Saying: Where is his promise or his coming? for since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

English Revised Version
and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Webster's Bible Translation
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Weymouth New Testament
and, asking, "What has become of His promised Return? For from the time our forefathers fell asleep all things continue as they have been ever since the creation of the world."

World English Bible
and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."

Young's Literal Translation
and saying, 'Where is the promise of his presence? for since the fathers did fall asleep, all things so remain from the beginning of the creation;'
Study Bible
The Coming Judgment
3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4“Where is the promise of His coming? they will ask. “Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation.” 5But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water,…
Cross References
Isaiah 5:19
Who say, "Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near And come to pass, that we may know it!"

Jeremiah 17:15
Look, they keep saying to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come now!"

Ezekiel 11:3
who say, 'Is not the time near to build houses? This city is the pot and we are the flesh.'

Ezekiel 12:22
"Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, 'The days are long and every vision fails '?

Ezekiel 12:27
"Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.'

Malachi 2:17
You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them," or, "Where is the God of justice?"

Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man will come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will repay each one according to what he has done.

Matthew 16:28
Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Matthew 24:48
But suppose that servant is wicked and says in his heart, 'My master will be away a long time.'

Mark 10:6
However, from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'
Treasury of Scripture

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

where.

Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spoke to his sons in law, which married his …

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which …

Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore …

Isaiah 5:18,19 Woe to them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it …

Jeremiah 5:12,13 They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall …

Jeremiah 17:15 Behold, they say to me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.

Ezekiel 12:22-27 Son of man, what is that proverb that you have in the land of Israel, …

Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, Wherein have …

Matthew 24:28 For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; …

from the beginning.

Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning …

Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things …

(4) Where is the promise?--Not meaning, of course, "In what passages of Scripture is any such promise to be found?"--but, "What has come of it? where is there any accomplishment of it?" (Comp. Psalm 42:3; Psalm 79:10; Jeremiah 17:15; Malachi 2:17.)

Of his coming.--"His" instead of "the Lord's" indicates not merely that only one Person could be meant, but also the irreverent way in which these scoffers spoke of Him.

Since the fathers fell asleep.--What fathers are meant? Four answers have been given to this question: (1) The ancestors of the human race; (2) the patriarchs and prophets; (3) the first generation of Christians; (4) each generation of men in relation to those following. Probably nothing more definite than our remote ancestors is intended. The expression "fell asleep" is used of St. Stephen's death in Acts 7:60 (comp. Matthew 27:52; 1Corinthians 7:39, where the word is not literally translated; 1Corinthians 15:6; 1Corinthians 15:18, &c). The thoroughly Christian term "cemetery" (=sleeping-place), in the sense of a place of repose for the dead, comes from the same Greek root.

There is a passage quoted by Clement of Rome (circ. A.D. 100) which seems at first sight to contain a reference to this verse: "Far be from us this Scripture where He saith, Wretched are the double-minded, who doubt in heart and say, These things we heard in the times of our fathers also, but behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened to us" (Epistle to the Corinthians, xxiii.). But the remainder of this "Scripture," as quoted by Clement, is so utterly unlike the verse before us, that one suspects some other source. And this suspicion is confirmed when we find the same passage quoted in the so-called Second Epistle of Clement (xi.) as "the prophetic word." (See on 2Peter 1:19 and on 2Peter 2:9). The differences between the two quotations are such that the pseudo-Clement appears to be quoting independently, and not merely borrowing from the true Clement. In neither case does close inspection encourage us to believe that our present verse is the source of the quotation. But the quotation by the true Clement is important as a complete refutation of the objection that "the fathers" means the first Christians, and consequently no such scoffing argument as this would be possible in the lifetime of St. Peter This very argument was not only in existence, but was condemned in a document which Clement before the close of the first century could quote as "Scripture." Comp. Epistle of Poly carp, chap. vii.: "Whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says there is neither resurrection nor judgment, he is the firstborn of Satan."

All things continue as they were.--Rather, as they are. The error has probably arisen from a desire to get rid of the slight difficulty of two dates being given: (1) from the death of "the fathers," and (2) from the beginning of the creation. The suggestion that "the fathers" are the first progenitors of the human race is another attempt to get rid of the difficulty by making the two dates virtually one and the same. But the second date is an after-thought, frequent in Thucydides, intensifying and strengthening the first. Since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they are--nay, more, since the beginning of the creation.

This sceptical argument is used with increased force as each generation passes away. It will be at its strongest just before the fallacy of it is irrefragably exposed--on the eve of the day of judgment.

Verse 4. - And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (comp. Malachi 2:17, "Where is the God of judgment?"). The Lord had prophesied of his coming; St. Paul had spoken more than once as if that coming were very near at hand (1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:15). Yet he came not. Already men were beginning to mock, and to question whether the long-delayed promise would ever be fulfilled. For since the fathers fell asleep; better, from the day that. By "the fathers" must be meant here the fathers of the Christian Church. St. Peter was writing more than thirty years after the Ascension. The first generation of Christians was rapidly passing away. Stephen "fell asleep" first, then James the son of Zebedee, the other James the Lord's brother, and many others who had looked, it may be, to see the coming of the Lord among those "which are alive and remain" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But they had died, and he came not; and from the day of their death things went on as they were. Should men look for him still, the mockers asked, when the fathers looked in vain? The mockers adopted, in mockery, doubtless, the Christian phrase for death. The Lord first had said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ;" then the holy Stephen "fell asleep;" and so "they which are asleep" became the recognized name for the dead in Christ. Death is like sleep; the holy dead rest from their labours. They "sleep not idly," for they are at home with the Lord, and they are blessed; but yet the quiet rest of Paradise, though "far better" than this earthly life, is sleep compared with the perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, which the redeemed of the Lord shall enjoy at last in his eternal glory. All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; literally, all things continue thus, as they are, and as they have been from the beginning. There has been no sudden catastrophe; the world has gone on as it was; the laws of nature are still working with their changeless uniformity" (see a remarkable parallel in Clement, I, 23, which is important also as an independent proof that this argument of the scoffers is as old as the end of the first century). And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?.... That is, of the coming of the Lord and Saviour, 2 Peter 3:2; the object of their scorn and derision, and whom they name not, through contempt; and the meaning is, what is become of the promise of his coming? where the accomplishment of it? The prophets foretold he would come; he himself said he would come again, John 14:3; the angels, at his ascension, declared he would come from heaven in like manner as he went up, Acts 1:11; and all his apostles gave out that he would appear a second time to judge both quick and dead, Acts 10:42 1 Peter 4:5, and that his coming was at hand, Philippians 4:5; but where is the fulfilment of all this? he is not come, nor is there any sign or likelihood of it:

for since the fathers fell asleep; or "died": which is the language of the Scriptures, and here sneered at by these men, who believe them so fast asleep as never to be awaked or raised more; and by "the fathers" they mean the first inhabitants of the world, as Adam, Abel, Seth, &c. and all the patriarchs and prophets in all ages; the Ethiopic version renders it, "our first fathers":

all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; reasoning from the settled order of things, the constant revolution of the sun, moon, and stars, the permanency of the earth, and the succession of the inhabitants of it, to the future continuance of things, without any alteration; and consequently, that Christ would not come, as was promised, to raise the dead, judge mankind destroy the world, and set up a new state of things: the fallacy of which reasoning is exposed by the apostle in the following words. 4. (Compare Ps 10:11; 73:11.) Presumptuous skepticism and lawless lust, setting nature and its so-called laws above the God of nature and revelation, and arguing from the past continuity of nature's phenomena that there can be no future interruption to them, was the sin of the antediluvians, and shall be that of the scoffers in the last days.

Where—implying that it ought to have taken place before this, if ever it was to take place, but that it never will.

the promise—which you, believers, are so continually looking for the fulfilment of (2Pe 3:13). What becomes of the promise which you talk so much of?

his—Christ's; the subject of prophecy from the earliest days.

the fathers—to whom the promise was made, and who rested all their hopes on it.

all things—in the natural world; skeptics look not beyond this.

as they were—continue as they do; as we see them to continue. From the time of the promise of Christ's coming as Saviour and King being given to the fathers, down to the present time, all things continue, and have continued, as they now are, from "the beginning of creation." The "scoffers" here are not necessarily atheists, nor do they maintain that the world existed from eternity. They are willing to recognize a God, but not the God of revelation. They reason from seeming delay against the fulfilment of God's word at all.3:1-4 The purified minds of Christians are to be stirred up, that they may be active and lively in the work of holiness. There will be scoffers in the last days, under the gospel, men who make light of sin, and mock at salvation by Jesus Christ. One very principal article of our faith refers to what only has a promise to rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lord is come. They will not believe that he will come. Because they see no changes, therefore they fear not God, Ps 55:19. What he never has done, they fancy he never can do, or never will do.
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