2Peter 3:10-12 KJV

 Countryside Bible Church 4-2-00

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The Earth is the Lord’s

Word Document version

“Earth  . . . shall be burned up

 “New heavens and a new earth”

 The Earth in God’s Future

 Conclusion

Intro:  Will God destroy the earth someday?  Will He turn it into smoldering ash and remove it’s place from the universe? That would be a shame, don’t you think? Will there come a day when God will determine that His earth and all His handiwork will have outlived its usefulness?  If so, we are going to have to revise a lot of scriptures.

Ben gave me a screen saver for my computer.  It is a series of beautiful natural vistas of the earth. People of all ages have been awed and inspired by the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.  We see the earth depicted in paintings and replicated on calendars and almost everywhere.  We have an added advantage today in appreciating it’s global beauty; pictures from outer space where it  spins as a jewel in the universe, just sort of hanging there as Job writes,
Job 26:7
   He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Yet, is there anything in the bible that might lead us to believe that God will one day destroy it?

Yes.

I. “Earth  . . . shall be burned up” 2Pet. 3:11            
    A. Also “heavens” (“heaven”, same word) shall “pass away” (“disappear”, NIV), be  “burned up”
        1. Might lead us to believe that God will destroy heaven
        2. “heaven(s)” is mentioned twice.
    B. Apocalyptic Language
        1. That is, figures used to representatively
        2. Day of Judgment, not on the literal planet or the sun, moon and stars
        3. But on that which is represented by them
    C.  Earth “broken up  . .  split . . shaken . . reels like a drunkard””
        1. Isaiah 24:19-23
            The floodgates  of the heavens are opened, the foundations  of the earth shake.
         2. Also, “moon” blushes,  and “sun ashamed”
    D. This is what the Language  represents –
        1. Isaiah 24:5-13

    E. Application of 2Pet. 3
        1. “elements shall melt with feverent heat and the earth also”
            a) Does not actually say the “earth” will be burned up.
            b) But “elements” and “earth” shall melt.
            c) “the works that are therein shall be burned up”.
        2. “elements” only four other places.
            Galatians 4:3
            Galatians 4:9
            Col. 2:8
            Col. 2:20
    F. It Does say “heavens”
        1. “will pass away with a great noise” and
        2. “being on fire shall be disolved”
    G. Picture of intensity and destruction of judgment on the nations, the entire world.

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II. “New heavens and a new earth”                            
    A. 2 Peter 3:13
        1. What is new?  “wherein dwelleth righteousness”
    B.. Reminds us of Revelation
        1. Rev. 21:1
        2. “heaven and … earth had passed away”(?)
        3. John R. Rice, Philadelphia School of the Bible, 1865 wrote,
            In those passages which speak of the passing away of the earth and the heavens, the original word is never one which signifies termination of existence, but “parechomai” which is a verb of very wide and general meaning, such as to go or come to a person, place or point; to pass as a man through a bath, or a ship through the sea; to pass from one place or condition to another, to arrive at, to go through; to go into, to come forward . . etc..  That it implies great changes when applied to the earth and heavens is very evident; but that it ever means annihilation, or the passing of things out of being, there is no clear instance either in the scriptures or in classic Greek…”

        4. “everything new” not “all new things”
            Rev. 21:5
    C. The Earth is the Lord’s
        1. Psalm 24:1
            The earth is the LORD'S, and everything in it,
        2. God’s Creation is His great glory.
            Isaiah 44:24

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III. The Earth in God’s Future                                
    A. God created the earth for a purpose
        Isaiah 45:18
            1. Not in “vain” (“waste, desolation, worthless”)- Strongs
            2.  Rsn “to be inhabited”. (by roaches?)
    B. Earth has a solid future.
        1. Psalm 104:5
            He set the earth on its foundations;
                it can never be moved.
    C. The eternal Inheritance of God’s people
        Psalm 25:13
        Psalm 37:9
        Psalm 37:11
        Psalm 37:18
        Psalm 37:22
        Psalm 37:29
        Psalm 37:34
        Psalm 49:14
        Psalm 72:8
        Psalm 115:16
        Proverbs 10:30
        Daniel 7:27
        Matthew 5:5
        Matthew 6:10
        Rev. 5:10
        Rev. 11:15

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    Conclusion:                                                        GoToTop
As you can see, those few  passages which may seem to predict that God will destroy the earth, when examined a little more closely, show that in these passages the earth is representative of the peoples of the earth, specifically the wicked.  Such an  interpretation brings these passages into harmony with the wider scriptural context.  A context which tells that God has promised His people the entire earth as an eternal inheritance .  It is the dominion of the coming Kingdom of God.