Knowing God in the Last Days by Mark H. Hoeksema
Reformed Free Publishing Association 86 pages hardback ISBN 978-1-944555-22-1
This little commentary on 2 Peter is a gem: concise, clear, very readable and packed with spiritual truth. The central theme is clear: the knowledge of God forms the basis upon which Christian graces are built and false teachers are recognised and exposed. The key verse is 2 Peter 1:3, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” This knowledge must be precise, and Hoeksema’s seminary training and knowledge of Greek means that what we read is a precise exposition that simultaneously clearly shows how each section is related to the previous and following sections. He emphasises that this knowledge must not just be intellectual but also experiential.
Here are some nuggets: “The promise is always and essentially Christ” (Heb. 11:39) and “so many promises that God gives to his church through the Spirit of Christ”. These promises form the ground of God’s command to be diligent in our Christian lives. He states, “Faith is strengthened through knowledge and knowledge is increased by faith”. My favourite is, “Hope concerns, first, the future (Rom. 8:24–25). Second, hope implies a longing for a future good (essentially full salvation, but never for anything unfavourable or undesirable). Third, unlike our use of the term, which implies uncertainty, hope is the absolute certainty that the object of hope will come to pass.”
The book is divided into the sections of each chapter—the first dealing with exhortations to advance in grace, the second covering the recognition and subsequent doom of heretical teachers, and the third covering eschatological truth, namely, that the history of the world is not one of uniformity (as evolution posits) but actually cataclysmic pointing to its ultimate apocalypse.
This little book ought to be read slowly because there is so much to unpack. I highly recommend it and would encourage its author to produce a study guide, which would encourage readers to dig into it for themselves.
*Dr. Julian Kennedy is a member of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.in