Elijah's mission was a call to repentance for the people of God. Repentance is conversion, it is turning around, it is renewing our minds. Our subject words in this article are closely related to the ideas associated with the "Spirit of Elijah".
Peter exhorted us: "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance" (II Peter 3:1).
Let us consider that these words were written to us. (The latter day believers in the final generation?) If this is the case, it is certainly encouraging to be called "beloved" and to be said to have "pure minds" – minds that just need a little stirring up!
The word "stir" is interesting in this verse. It means literally to "arouse" or "awake". Is there an implication that we may be snoozing? It is interesting that in the other chapter written to this generation (I Thessalonians 5), the same message is presented:
Words of exhortation given in the same positive spirit – and yet still enough implication to suggest that some may be sleeing. When we think about this suggestion we may want to look again at other prophecies with latter day clues. For example, Matthew 25 (the parable of the ten virgins).
They were all aroused by the midnight cry. There are only 2 probable choices as we attempt to understand this: either all of the virgins would be "sleeping in Christ" (waiting for the resurrection), or even though they are considered to be "wise" they are still in a state of spiritual slumber when at last he comes.
The 2nd choice is most likely. We are specifically told that there will be those who are "alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:15). We also know that he will come "in clouds" to a few of his disciples (even as ye have seen him go). We certainly would not deliberately describe ourselves as slumbering virgins, but then how would the Lord describe us? Remember that in another latter day prophesy, we are told:
We are also told that there would be "perilous times", that it would be like the "days of Noah" (Matthew 24:37-38, Luke 17:26) and the "days of Lot" (Luke 17:28). There is an abundance of evidence describing our generation – not only concerning conditions in the world, but also evidence that relates to the conditions that would exist among the servants of God. Few of the words of prophesy concerning latter day believers are very flattering.
When we look again at Peter's 2nd epistle we see that he also addresses the conditions that would be present in the last days. In fact he makes a very clear statement in this regard:
Peter's concern for us drives his exhortation to "stir up". To arouse and awake us by way of remembrance. He stirs our minds first with his warning about the condition that would exists in the last days. It is interesting that Jude carries the same warning:
Murmurers – complainers – who separate? Look again at the testimony in God's word: "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: KNOWING THIS FIRST, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (II Peter 3:2-3).
This is his first point, to warn us of the conditions in the last days – to remind us that we have been forewarned by both the apostles and the prophets (knowing that being forewarned, we will be forearmed). Part of his warning actually started earlier in the 1st part of his epistle (Chapter 1):
'Yes brethren, be mindful of the words of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: we were eyewitnesses. These are not cunningly devised fables. Why should there be scoffers? We are talking about things that have been revealed by holy men who were inspired by God.'
What more could Peter offer for credibility? It may have been enough to turn thousands to the Lord in one day in the first century. But today? We are slumbering. We are no longer fully aware of the words spoken before. Nor of the miracles that demonstrated those words to be true.
The latter day scoffers would be motivated by their own lusts. Their lust would provide the incentive to ignore any evidence that might convince them that the Lord was still coming. They would prefer to believe that there was plenty of time to pursue their own desires.
You have all had this lesson. These scoffers were not (as we might conveniently prefer to believe) the unbelievers in the world. Consider the evidence that Peter supplies (vv. 3-7):
The scoffers (no doubt) are slumbering foolish virgins.
Peter proceeds with his attempt to stir up our pure minds:
Just as surely as there was a flood, there will be a judgment by fire. If you want to stir up your minds concerning judgment:
But above all, remember that the Lord will judge his people, and has.
The Lord shall judge his people, and these historical judgments were written for our learning, for our admonition – and now we need to be aroused and stirred by all of the power of his Word. To remember not only that there will be judgment (by fire), but also that he intends to fulfill his promises, to reward his servants.
Peter continues his stirring with some words of encouragement:
Peter has introduced the time element into his stirring of our minds. God is not slack, and there is a time. God's timetable is different than ours. We have our three score and ten in which to impatiently expect the fulfillment of all things. But God has a much larger time frame: 1 day = 1,000 years.