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1 Peter 4:7 Study Archive

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch

New Testament Greek:
I Peter 4:7

  • BMT: Πάντων δὲ τὸ τέλος ἤγγικεν· σωφρονήσατε οὖν καὶ νήψατε εἰς τὰς προσευχάς·
  • ScTR: Πάντων δὲ τὸ τέλος ἤγγικε· σωφρονήσατε οὖν καὶ νήψατε εἰς τὰς προσευχάς·

Jay Adams (1978)
“In six or seven years from the time of writing, the overthrow of Jerusalem, with all its tragic stories, as foretold in the book of Revelation and in the Olivet Discourse upon which that part is based, would take place. Titus and Vespasian would wipe out the old order once and for all. All those forces that led to the persecution and exile of these Christians in Asia Minor—the temple ceremonies (outdated by Christ’s death), Pharisaism (with its distortion of the O.T. law into a system of works-righteousness) and the political stance of Palestinian Jewry toward Rome—would be erased. The Roman armies would wipe Jewish opposition from the face of the land. Those who survived the holocaust of A.D. 70 would themselves be dispersed around the Mediterranean world. “So,” says Peter, “hold on; the end is near.” The full end of the O.T. order (already made defunct by the cross and the empty tomb) was about to occur.” (Trust and Obey: A Practical Commentary on First Peter (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1978), 130)

John Brown (1852)
“After some deliberation I have been led to adopt the opinion of those who hold that “the end of all things” here is the entire end of the Jewish economy in the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the holy people. That was at hand; for this epistle seems to have been written a very short while before these events took place, not improbably after the commencement of the “wars and rumours of wars” of which our Lord spake. This view will not appear strange to any one who has carefully weighed the terms in which our Lord had predicted these events, and the close connection which the fulfillment of these predictions had with the interests and duties of Christians, whether in Judea or in Gentile countries.

It is quite plain that in our Lord’s prediction the expressions “the end,” and probably “the end of the world,” are used in reference to the entire dissolution of the Jewish economy. The events of that period were very minutely foretold, and our Lord distinctly stated that the existing generation should not pass away till all things respecting “this end” should be fulfilled, This was to be a season of suffering for all; of trial, severe trial, to the followers of Christ; of dreadful judgment on His Jewish opposers, and of glorious triumph to His religion. To this period there are repeated references in the apostolical epistles. “Knowing the time,” says the Apostle Paul, “that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” “Be patient,” says the Apostle James; “stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” “The Judge standeth before the door.” Our Lord’s predictions must have been very familiar to the minds of Christians at the time this was written. They must have been looking forward with mingled awe and joy, fear and hope, to their accomplishment: “looking for the things which were coming on the earth;” and it was peculiarly natural for Peter to refer to these events, and to refer to them in words similar to those used by our Lord, as he was one of the disciples who, sitting with his Lord in full view of the city and temple, hears these predictions uttered.

The Christians inhabiting Judea had a peculiar interest in these predictions and their fulfillment. But all Christians had a deep interest in them. The Christians of the regions in which those to whom Peter wrote resided were chiefly converted Jews. As Christians they had cause to rejoice in the prospect of the accomplishment of the predictions, as greatly confirming the truth of Christianity and removing some of the greatest obstructions in the way of its progress, such as persecutions by the Jews, and the confounding of Christianity with Judaism on the part of the Gentiles, who were accustomed to view its professors as a Jewish sect. But while they rejoiced, they had cause to “rejoice with trembling,” as their Lord had plainly intimated that it was to be a season of severe trial to his friends, as well as of fearful vengeance against His enemies. “The end of all things,” which was at hand, seems to be the same thing as the judgment of the quick and the dead, which the Lord was ready to enter on- the judgment, the time for which was come, which was to begin with the house of God, and then to be executed fully on those who obeyed not the Gospel of God, the unbelieving Jews, in which the righteous should scarcely be saved, and the ungodly and wicked should be fearfully punished.

The contemplation of each such events as just at hand was well fitted to operate as a motive to sobriety and vigilance unto prayer. These were just the tempers and exercises peculiarly called for in such circumstances, and they are just the dispositions and employments required by our Lord when He speaks of those days of trial and wrath: “Take heed to yourselves,” says our Lord, “lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life and so that day come on you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all who dwell on the earth. Watch, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are about to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” It is difficult to believe that the apostle had not these very words in his mind when he wrote the passage now before us.” (Expository Discourses on 1 Peter, vol. ii. pp.292-294)

Gary DeMar (1999)
“If Peter had meant that the physical earth would be literally destroyed in the near future, he was simply wrong. Some people would take another view of this verse and say that the “at hand” does not mean “in the near future.” If that is the case, there is little meaning in Peter’s words at all. Peter deliberately put a time indicator in his prophecy. Peter meant that all old things, all the things of the old covenant, would pass away in the destruction of Jerusalem.” (The Reduction of Christianity, p. 160)

C. Jonathan Seraiah
“It is true that the “eschatology” of the New Testament is predominantly preterist. For those unfamiliar with the preterist perspective, it is the ancient view that many of the eschatological passages of the New Testament were fulfilled (completely) in the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. This view may sound novel, but in reality there have been orthodox adherents to it throughout church history (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, John Lightfoot, John Owen, Milton Terry, Jay Adams). This interpretation does not deny the Final Coming of Christ; it merely finds that not all “coming” passages refer to that event. The preterist interpretation is actually the most faithful to the biblical text because it recognizes that Old Testament prophetic terminology was used by the New Testament authors. This recognition is helpful in distinguishing the prophecies of Christ’s coming that were near, in the first century (Matt. 10:2316:2824:3026:641 Thess. 5:22 Thess. 1:7James 5:7-91 Pet. 4:7Rev. 1:37; etc.) and thus fulfilled in a.d. 70, from those that were far (John 5:28-29Acts 1:1117:311 Cor. 15:23-241 Thess. 4:161 Jn. 3:2; etc.) and thus not yet fulfilled even in our day. It also helps to distinguish between a spiritual “coming” (invisible for temporal judgment, as in a.d. 70) and a physical coming (visible for eternal judgment).” (End of All Things)

James Burton Coffman (1984)
“It is most likely that this has no reference whatever to the Second Coming of Christ.  The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70, only five years after our epistle, was the greatest single event of a thousand years, and religiously significant beyond anything else that ever occurred in human history.” (Commentary on James, 1 & 2 Peter, p. 231)

Guy N. Woods (1974)
“It thus follows that the “end” was not the judgment day and the consummation of the age.  It should be remembered that these words of the apostle were written on the eve of the destruction of the Jewish State.  Already terminated as a system of acceptable worship, its form and ceremonies had persisted through the efforts of unbelieving Jews who had desperately resisted the march of Christianity.  Soon, the temple, the Levitical system, and the Jewish economy were to perish in the fearful destruction about to fall on Jerusalem.” (A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, p. 111-112)