Hasting . . . Coming
By Charles H. Welch
Hasting unto the Coming. The margin of 2
Peter 3:12 reads "or hasting the coming", and this only makes the passage
one of greater difficulty and also, by reason of its implications, one
of great importance. If we accept the translation of the R.V. no difficulty
remains, for that version reads "earnestly desiring", but there is a suspicion
in the back of the mind that this translation cuts the Gordian knot, without
unravelling it. The question, can a believer or a body of believers "hasten"
the coming of the day of God, cannot be dismissed by referring to the
fact that Peter is writing to the dispersion, to the circumcision or to
Hebrews, for the problem still remains "in what way can any man hasten,
or delay, the coming of the day of God?" Let us first of all note the
actual word that is translated "hasting". The Greek word is speudo,
and as it occurs only six times we give the complete concordance to its
Other forms of this same word are spoudazo "endeavour" (Eph. 4:3), "study" (2 Tim. 2:15), spoudios "diligent" (2 Cor. 8:22), spoude "diligence" (Heb. 6:11), spoudaios "instantly" (Luke 7:4). The word is coupled with prosdokao "to look for, wait or expect". At the first advent there were a few who were "waiting for the consolation of Israel" or who "looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:25,38), and later in the same gospel we read the exhortation "Let your loins be girded about . . . like unto men that wait for their Lord" (Luke 12:35,36). If we ask the question "could men by their attitude HINDER the coming of the day of God?" it will be difficult for us to deny the possibility, by reason of the fact that the setting up of the kingdom in the gospel of Matthew and in the Acts of the Apostles is conditioned upon the repentance of Israel. We find that by their unbelief that the Lord could do no more mighty works among them; "they would not" when He desired to gather them, their house was left unto them desolate by reason of their attitude. This postponement of the fulfilment of the prophets is a real problem in this epistle of Peter.
There would have been no point in writing "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:16) if that coming had not been denied, and Peter speaks of scoffers who shall arise in the last days saying "where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Pet. 3:3,4), and he himself admits that, while not doubting the faithfulness of the Lord to all His Word, "the longsuffering" which interposed so long a time before the realization of the promises, while forming an integral part of Paul's epistles, did indeed present "some things hard to be understood" (2 Pet. 3:15,16). To stem any tendency to drift, to doubt or to despair, the Apostle Peter employs this word "hasten" several times. Perhaps by putting them together we shall see more c1early what his intention is in the exhortation of 2 Peter 3:12. We will record the passages in the order in which they occur in this second epistle. There are three farms of the word used here, speudo, spoudazo, and spoude.
It will be seen that Peter has had this need for "diligence" before his mind right through the epistle, even as he has had the scoffer at the second coming very much at heart. In 2 Peter 3: 14, a verse that follows and expands the teaching of verse 12, he uses the word again:
Here "be diligent" is spoudazo, "hasting" in verse 12 is speudo, and "seeing that ye look" is prosdokao, as it is in verses 12 and 13. Another item of importance is that the Apostle may have had in mind a parable which he heard the Lord speak, and concerning which he had asked the question:
In this parable we have the exhortation "Let your loins be girded" (Luke 12:35), even as in the first epistle Peter had said:
In both the parable and the epistle, the coming of the Lord is likened unto "a thief in the night" (Luke 12:39,2 Pet. 3:10). In both there is expressed the idea of being "found" either in peace, or "watching", and in both is found the verb prosdokao "to look for, or expect" (Luke 12:46, 2 Pet. 3:12,13,14). It appears therefore that while the human agent can, speaking after the manner of men, appear to delay or to hasten the outworking of the purposes of God, the purpose of the Apostle in writing 2 Peter 3:12 is more in line with such a passage as Habakkuk 2:3,4.
Peter, it will be remembered, referred to an epistle written by the apostle Paul to those of his own readers, the dispersed of Israel, and in Hebrews ten, the epistle to which Peter evidently referred, we read:
to which must be added the note, that the word "perdition" (apoleia) is found in 2 Peter 2:1,2,3,3:7 and 16, where the perdition or destruction deprecated in Hebrews 10:39 seems to be in view. The believer cannot "hasten" the day ordained by God, but he need be no automaton, he can share the attitude of his Lord "From henceforth expecting" and shape his life accordingly.