Summary: #6 out of 2 Peter. In 2 Peter 3:1-9, Peter is admonishing the believers that regardless of what the false teachers are saying, Jesus is returning. The fat lady is singing!
THE FAT LADY IS SINGING!
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 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.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for first, kept for the day of judgment and destruction for ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:3-9 NASV).
On March 10, 1976, the Dallas Morning News wrote about this exchange between Ralph Carpenter and commentator Bill Morgan: Despite his obvious allegiance to the Red Raiders, Texas Tech sports information director Ralph Carpenter was the picture of professional objectivity when the Aggies rallied for a 72-72 tie late in the SWC tournament finals.
“Hey, Ralph,” said Bill Morgan, “This…is going to be a tight one after all.”
“Right,” said Ralph, “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”
According to my “reliable” source (Wikipedia), this was the first recorded use of the phrase, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” After that, Don Meredith, the first Dallas Cowboy quarterback, repeatedly used it as a commentary on Monday Night Football in the early 70’s.
The phrase was taken from one of Richard Wagner’s operas (Der Ring des Nibelungen), where a “fat lady” by the name of Brunnhilde, sang a twenty-minute farewell scene that leads to the finale which is about the end of the world.
And thus the phrase, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings!”
In our series out of 2 Peter, we’ve come to chapter three where Peter cautions the believers and corrects the false teachers with the reality that…the fat lady is singing. And what might she be singing?
Jesus is coming soon morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom Trumpets will sound,
All of the dead shall rise, Righteous meet in the skies,
Going where no one dies Heavenward bound (R. E. Winsett, 1942)
In years gone by, that song used to be sung at least once a month in Sunday worship. In Bible college, it was a staple; now…not so much!
When Nancy and I worked with the church on Long Island, there was a sister in Christ, who requested with great emotion that that song never be sung. Why? Because her family was lost. I could sense the tension that she was experiencing. How can we sing of friends and family meeting their doom while we sing of the joys of heaven?
There needs to be a sensitivity, a heart for those who are lost, because a cavalier attitude or a callous disregard for their condition is not of Jesus.
But as we wrestle with the emotion that surrounds His return and the judgment of God upon those who do not know Him (2 Thess. 1:9), we must continue to faithfully proclaim those truths. Not singing a song that reminds us of their doom does not change the reality of His return.
As personal as that may be in our lives, we must be careful that that kind of emotionalism does not descend the slippery slope of the heresy of the false teachers. Their disbelief…and denial of the return of Jesus was based on two false tenets.
First, they didn’t believe He would return because He hadn’t returned: “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.”
But notice where they went to establish that – all the way back to creation. Not back to when Jesus made the promise (Matt. 25), which would have made it only 30-40 years.
But that’s what cynics and mockers do – they use misdirection. As Douglas Moo points out in his commentary on 2 Peter: “Mockers do not so much reason against the truth of God as they disdain and belittle it” (Douglas Moo. 2 Peter, 166).
Peter uses their reference of the beginning of creation to remind them that God spoke the world into existence out of water and by water (Gen. 1)…and then He used that same water to destroy that world (Gen. 6).