Wednesday, November 1, 2017

II Peter 3: The Fire Next Time

Peter mentions three times in II Peter 3 that a judgment by fire is coming upon our world:

  1. "But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless." (vs. 7)
  2. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed." (vs. 10)
  3. "...waiting for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?" (vs. 12)

Can you imagine a worldwide fire that consumes everything - heaven and earth - and melts the elements?  Starting in 1945, such a fate has been scientifically imaginable, thanks to the invention of atomic weapons.  It has since been the plot of hundreds of books and movies, as the world endures a nuclear apocalypse.  But these fears are somewhat late to the party; two millennia earlier, Peter foresaw through the Spirit a time when the earth would be set ablaze!

Is that it, then?  Does the Bible say that the world will end in nuclear fire?  Not necessarily.  God has many ways to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy.  Whether the end comes through something atomic/radioactive or not, the point is that the end will come.

Rather than a focus on how the world will end, the key question is: how should we be living in the meantime?  Whether we live to see "the end of the world" or not, an end is definitely coming for us when we will go to meet the Lord.  As we prepare for that moment, the way we live our lives is paramount. 

Live for Jesus!  Or, as Peter says, "strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation." (vs. 14-15)

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