BC_Blog

Fire, world’s end, God’s patience... our response.


Posted 19 Dec 2014

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Destruction of the Earth as described in 2 Peter chapter 3.

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Close-up of the Aslan-like fiery lion.

Link to Bible Cartoon image, in case you want to buy the fiery lion picture!
Fiery lion Bible Cartoon.


Just read this in the New Testament:

2 Peter 3:3-4 (AMP)
3 To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires 4 And say, “Where is the promise of His ‘coming’? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation.”

Verse 3 points out that “in the last days, scoffers will come”. We certainly have plenty of scoffers & mockers of Jesus & Christianity today. Perhaps that point alone ought to make us wonder, are we in the last days?
The passage continues (at verse 5):

2 Peter 3:5-7 (AMP)
5 For they [the scoffers] willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that the heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God *1, and the earth also which was formed out of water and by means of water. 6 Through which the world that then [existed] was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people.

Verse 5 explains that scoffers/mockers “conveniently” forget that the Lord God made the heavens by his spoken word. That is how powerful His spoken word really is… God says it, & it springs into being – wow!
Verse 5 & 6 point out the duel creative & destructive way in which the Lord used water; in the first place to create the earth, & in the second place to deluge it (in the Flood) & destroy all but those on Noah’s ark.

Verse 7 points out the fact that the SAME power (the spoken Word of God) will be used to usher in the end of all things: fire will issue forth & the heavens & earth will come to an end.

Going on into verse 8:

2 Peter 3:8-9 (AMP)
8 Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.

This is a fabulous section! Peter makes the point (by writing to his readers, “DO NOT let this one fact escape you”) that the Lord is not actually slow to bring about the end of the cosmos. The scoffers mentioned earlier were saying, “Come on! The cosmos has always been this way. If God even exists he hasn’t brought about the destruction of the universe yet – so he never will! Don’t worry!?” But Peter is pointing out the REASON why God “seems” to be slow in operating his final will for the heavens & earth: it is his KINDNESS toward us humans which is at work. It is the EXTREMELY patient loving nature of our heavenly Father which explains his “apparent” slowness to act. As Peter writes “He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that ANY should perish, but that ALL should turn to repentance.”

Scoffers/mockers would point to history & think of it as eternal, whilst dismissing Christian hope as delusional, or a false hope at best. But believers realise that God made the heavens & the earth by his word; that all of his promises will come true, & that includes what is yet to come, in the (now) near future.
It is because God loves us SO MUCH, that he “appears” to be doing little. In fact, He is waiting. He is actively involved “behind the scenes”, bringing more & more people to the knowledge that they can’t save themselves; that they need Jesus to save them. God is so kind that he doesn’t want EVEN ONE single human being to die without the chance of hearing of about Jesus & the eternal life that he offers. He loves us THAT much. The same Fatherly love that sent His son Jesus to die in our place (substitutionary death) prompts Father to be incredibly patient in his offer of eternal life for those willing to accept it.

2 Peter 3:10 (AMP)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

Verse 10 returns to the point: the day of the Lord (another way of saying “the end of the world”) will come. Interesting that Peter uses the metaphor “like a thief in the night”. In other words, it will come quickly, silently, stealthily, unexpectedly and SUDDENLY.
Peter reasserts that fire will be used by the Lord to burn up/dissolve the material cosmos. The “old order” has to be destroyed, before the new one can be birthed.
When the Bible repeats something in the same passage, that usually means the reader should PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!

2 Peter 3:11-13 (AMP)
11 Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, 12 While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire? 13 But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide.

Verse 11 is interesting: “Since all these things ARE THUS IN THE PROCESS OF being dissolved…” To me that means it is already starting to happen – again, we are in the end times; the end is drawing ever closer.

Peter then asks a very pertinent question: bearing in mind that the end of the cosmos is coming (soon!), what kind of person ought we to be? Since the end of all things is coming soon, what should our character & nature be; what changes should we put into place, to meet this cosmic end time?
Peter is writing to Christian believers, & says we should have consecrated (meaning set apart for God) & holy, devout behaviour: the qualities of Jesus present & seen in our natures & characters.

Whoa! Peter’s mentioned that dissolving by fire again, that’s THREE times in 12 verses – PAY ATTENTION!

Verse 13 explains that God has promised a new heaven & a new earth (also detailed in Revelation 21) & that righteousness will dwell there.
Some Christians can get twitchy here, asking “am I righteous?” We can get caught up in the personal battle/debate here if we’re not careful, where we wonder if we are “righteous enough” to inherit a place in this new heaven & new earth. The good news is, we don’t have to worry about that! Jesus imparts His PERFECT righteousness to us (believers) which COMPLETELY QUALIFIES us. He did that on the cross of Calvery. It has already been desided – we all qualify if we believe in Jesus. Faith is what “gets us there”! Don’t listen to your own “flesh” or mind trying to condemn you; nor to the Devil who does the same; nor to the world which says there isn’t a God, or a new heaven & earth!

NOTES:
*1
Hebrews 11:3 (AMP)
By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
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