Friday, 21 February 2020
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:7
Peter just relayed sacred history by saying that, “the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.” Now, he speaks of the present world and what its fate will be. In this, he begins with, “But the heavens and the earth which are now.” The construction of the words is similar to the previous verse. There, the Greek said, “the then world.” Here, it says, “the now heavens and the earth.” It is the ordered structure which now exists. Of them, Peter says they are “preserved by the same word.”
Compare these passages in verses 5 & 7 –
“by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth…”
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word.”
All things were created by the word of God, and the word sustains all things. It is God’s word that keeps all things as He determines. In the case of the heavens and earth which are now, Peter says that they “are reserved for fire.”
There was first a destruction of the world by flood. God promised to never again destroy the earth by a flood (Genesis 9:11). However, He did not promise the earth would not be destroyed again. Rather, it is assuredly going to happen. But next time it will be by fire.
The reason for the destruction is obvious. In Genesis 6:5, it says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Peter’s words, and indeed the words of Scripture elsewhere, point to the same condition being found among humanity in the future. There is a time coming when the world will be so wicked that the only remedy will be an almost complete annihilation of man once again. The world as it is now is being prepared for that day, preserved, as Peter states, “until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
This is the period known as “the tribulation” which is spoken of in both testaments of Scripture. Judgment is coming upon the world because of the wickedness of man. Isaiah, quoting the Lord, says of that time that, “I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir” (Isaiah 13:12).
Again, Jesus speaks of this time as well –
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24:21, 22
Very few humans will survive through the fiery trial which is coming. For those who do, there will still be a judgment upon them after Christ’s return. The world will be purified and prepared for the millennial reign of Christ. What is interesting is that fire is to be the instrument of destruction, and it is the modern store of weapons, both conventional and nuclear, which appear to be the very things that will cause this prophecy to come about. This is something that was not possible in previous generations of humanity.
Life application: After the Flood of Noah, God made a promise that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood. This doesn’t mean there won’t be large floods on the earth, but rather not a flood to completely destroy the earth. However, God didn’t promise that He wouldn’t again destroy the earth in a different way – and this is the subject of the next few verses.
The same God who spoke the universe into existence and who continues to hold all things together by the power of His word, has reserved the earth for a different type of judgment. Such judgment comes because we as humans continuously fail to learn lessons from the past.
God created Adam and Adam rebelled. Despite knowing this, his son – the first person ever born – killed his own brother. When wickedness abounded to such an extent that there was no remedy for man, God destroyed the world by flood. Later, man’s continued rebellion led to the dispersion of the peoples of the world, dividing them into various groups and languages.
After that came the redemption of the people of Israel and their own stubborn rebellion. Twice they were exiled for disobedience. The church has continuously fallen away from the truth of the Bible, one denomination after another apostatizing. Eventually, man will stray so far from God’s purposes that the world will face the tribulation minutely detailed in the book of Revelation.
These things happen because we simply don’t acknowledge and properly respect the Creator. Individually, we are responsible for our actions, and we will receive judgment based on them. Likewise, mankind will also be collectively judged with fire on the Day of Judgment. Call now on Jesus and be saved from the wrath to come.
Heavenly Father, You have been more than patient with us as we continuously stray from Your intent and purposes for us. In wrath, remember mercy and look tenderly upon those who have called on Your offer of peace which comes through Jesus our Lord. Amen.