The New Heaven and New Earth – Guest Article by Roy Runyon
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying,” (Isa.65:17-19).
Probably no other Biblical text is of such great importance to the Futurist’s view as 2 Peter 3:10ff. This is the ‘holy grail’ of the Literalist’s doctrines of the assumed end of time, and the dissolution of the universe; therefore, because our forefathers have handed us this package of earth-burning time-ending doctrines, the literal rendering of this text must be guarded at all costs; and, the traditional view of this text is in fact given such homage that most people wave the magic wand of denominational bias over the whole of prophecy to destroy any hint of the hyperbolic nature of the language in this text, as is used *everywhere else* throughout the Bible. Is Peter predicting some ginormous cataclysm in our future in which our galaxy, yea, the entire universe will go out with a Big Bang?
Peter begins his first epistle by telling his readers that their salvation is, “…ready to be revealed in the last time,” (1:5). What is most interesting to notice is what Peter says next in framing his letter regarding this salvation which he just said, is *ready* to be revealed:
“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into,” (1:9-12).
If we can understand plain language, then it shouldn’t be difficult to see that Peter is pointing out to his readers that the subject matter of his letter is what the prophets predicted; and, that the events they prophesied of was not for them, but as Peter has just said, *was* for his readers, since the fulfillment thereof was now imminent.
Early in Christ’s ministry, He taught them of the impending consummation of the Mosaic age when He explained the parable of the tares and wheat:
“He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world←[kosmos], the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the *harvest* is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of *this* age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Mt.13:38-43).
Peter, who understood those things Jesus was teaching them about the end of the Jewish age, (not the end of time, Mt.13:51), reinforces his exposition with the following statements:
“Who shall give account to him that is *ready* to judge the quick and the dead,” (4:5).
“But the end of ALL things *is at hand:* be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer,” (4:7)
“For the time *is come* that →judgment must begin← at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (4:17).
Peter was also a, “…witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partner of the *glory* which →is about to be revealed,←” (1:5:1).
Along this same theme of imminence, the apostle continues in his second letter in regards to the Judaic false teachers and says that, “their judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not,” (2:2:3).
Peter eliminates all guesswork regarding the purpose of writing both of his epistles, by frankly telling his readers:
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:” (2:3:1-2).
Since Peter had, “the prophetic word made more sure” (2:1:19), he states here, unequivocally, that he has written both of his letters to remind his readers that what the prophets predicted centuries earlier, was now imminent; therefore, we should want to know what prophesy(ies) Peter had in mind.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” (2:3:8). This statement, without a doubt is one of THE most abused verses in the entire Bible! It is routinely taken out of context ad-nauseum to justify nearly anything, with blatant disregard for the preceding context of both epistles. The only logical application of this statement is in answer to the scoffers who were asking, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,” (2:3:4)! This statement, in *retrospect,* refers to God’s *previous* longsuffering with mankind through the centuries, especially since Peter immediately says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise…” (2:3:9); but, “now,” Peter says, the fulfillment of God’s promises is imminent.
As Peter reminded his readers that God, “spared not the old world…bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly,” (2:2:5), he now returns to this thought of prophecy-fulfillment by pointing out that, as the antediluvian world was destroyed because of iniquity, so the heavens and earth which were contemporary with Peter, by the same word, would soon be destroyed. So where does Peter’s “the-day-of-the-Lord-will-come” statement originate?
(Also note that the antediluvian world was destroyed, but the physical earth, the universe and time remained intact!)
“Behold, →the day of the LORD cometh,← and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against →Jerusalem← to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city,” (Zec.14:1-2).
Peter, being a Hebrew, and thinking like a Hebrew, could draw upon such prophecies as this as he urged his readers to, “be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets.”
“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains [cf. Lk.21:21; Rev.12:6] for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and →the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.←[cf. 1Thess.2:19; 3:13; 4:14f; Jude 1:14] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:←[cf. 1 Cor.13:12] But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, ←[cf. Mt.24:36; Acts 1:7; 1 Thess.5:1ff] not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, →that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem←[cf.Jn.7:37f]; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. →And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:←[cf. Rev.11:15] in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one,” (Zec.14:5-10).
Please observe from, “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,” that, “the day of the Lord” was to come against Jerusalem in the time associated with living waters going out from Jerusalem; and, in *that day* the Lord would be King over all the earth! How, pray tell, could Peter be telling his readers that the literal heavens and earth was going to be vaporized, when, “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets” *said* verbatim, that in the day of the Lord, He would be King over all the earth?? How could He be King over something that ceased to exist? The literal heavens and earth did not cease to exist in the destruction of the antediluvian world, so where would Peter get such an idea?! These are some of the insurmountable problems and contradictions caused by the Futurist’s literal [mis]application of Peter’s hyperbolic language.
Peter said plainly that, “according to his promise” (prophecy), “we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” (2:3:13). This “new heavens and new earth,” is specifically identified as the bride of Christ (Rev.21:1ff) which comes down out of heaven after the first heaven and earth fled from the face of Him that sat on the great white throne (Rev.20:11). This corresponds perfectly with, “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,” which Peter admonishes his readers IS at hand (2000 years ago!).
Note from DKP– Be sure to get a copy of my book, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat for an even more detailed study of the New Heavens and Earth.