Bible passage: 2 Peter 3:1-18
Written: During the first century
In 2 Peter, which is the name of an epistle (letter) in the New Testament of the Bible, we are told that the return of Jesus will take people by surprise, that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief."
The author, Peter, who was one of Jesus' apostles, reminds Christians to live righteously (2 Peter 3:11 and 2 Peter 3:14) and to view the end times with joy rather than fear (2 Peter 3:12-13).
"The 'last days' of verse 3 are not just the 48 hours immediately before Christ's return. They are one of the New Testament's phrases for the entire time between Christ's first coming and his final coming." - Mark A. Jeske, James, Peter, John, Jude, The People’s Bible (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House, 2002), 188.
Here is 2 Peter 3:1-18 (WEB):
1 This is now, beloved, the second letter that I have written to you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by reminding you 2 that you should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior: 3 knowing this first, that in the last days mockers will come, walking after their own lusts 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." 5 For this they willfully forget that there were heavens from of old, and an earth formed out of water and amid water by the word of God, 6 by which means the world that existed then, being overflowed with water, perished. 7 But the heavens that exist now and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8 But don't forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but he is patient with us, not wishing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, 12 looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, seeing that you look for these things, be diligent to be found in peace, without defect and blameless in his sight. 15 Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all of his letters, speaking in them of these things. In those, there are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware, lest being carried away with the error of the wicked, you fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
(World English Bible translation)