“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” (2 Peter 3:3)
It should come as no surprise that since Peter wrote his second epistle to remind his readers to remember the prophets and the apostles’ message concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ that it would be for a particular reason. That reason is given in 2 Peter 3:3. It is that scoffers will come with scoffing about Jesus’ return.
Peter wanted his readers then, and now, to presently and actively know and understand a truth that is of primary importance. The truth is that scoffers will come. Scoffers (ἐμπαίκτης; empaiktes) are those who mock and make fun of Jesus Christ and His followers.
I was recently at work and asked a fellow employee how her strained back was doing. The previous day she couldn’t even stand straight which necessitated her making an appointment with a local chiropractor. I told her, prior to her appointment, that I would pray for her. Another employee must have heard what I told her because the next day, after she said she was feeling better following her chiropractic appointment, he began to shout the word hallelujah exclaiming that God had healed this lady. Knowing this young man as I do, he clearly was mocking her, me, and the Lord Jesus. This is what scoffers do.
The reality of scoffers is a telltale sign that we are living in the last days. The last days is the time immediately prior to the promised return of Jesus Christ in power, might and glory. It is at this particular time in the church’s history that scoffers will come with scoffing (ἐμπαιγμονή; empaigmone) which is to make fun of someone by pretending that he is not what he is or by imitating him in a distorted manner—in order to mock, to ridicule.” This is what my co-worker did and what many entertainers, filmmakers and television programs do as well.
Why do scoffers do this? It is because they are following their own sinful desires. Note that scoffers are not following anyone else’s lusts, but their own cravings and evil desires. Those who do not follow them and their sinful cravings are mocked and ridiculed.
Believers can take heart that such mockery is an indication of Jesus’ soon return. The logical inference is that as scoffing increases in intensity against the church, the Lord’s return is that much sooner.
Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Peter understood that he and his readers were living in the last days, the period of time between the Lord’s First and Second Advents. First of all means “above all” (as in 1:20), foremost in importance. Scoffers are the false teachers who deny Jesus Christ (2:1) and His return (3:4). Jesus had said these heretics would come (Matt. 24:3–5, 11, 23–26), and Paul had written the same (1 Tim. 4:1–3; 2 Tim. 3:1–9). Peter echoed the warning, adding that their scoffing is accompanied by their … evil desires (epithymias, also used in 2 Peter 1:4; 2:10, 18; Jude 16, 18). Arrogant snobbery and disdain for the idea of a coming judgment led to sexual perversion.”
These current days of scoffers mocking and ridiculing believing Christians for their faith, while at the same time celebrating their unbridled sin and licentiousness, should make us take heart that Jesus is returning soon. Let us call it anticipation in the midst of agitation.
Soli deo Gloria!