In the Bible, book of 2 Peter 3:8-15 NLT stated, “8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. 11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in His sight. 15 And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him … “
Peter had made his point that our Lord Jesus Christ would certainly return and bring judgment, but the question still remained, “Why was the Lord delaying so long?” Peter offered two reasons in 2 Peter 3:8-9. First of all, the Lord does not count time as people do. He is above and outside of the sphere of time. God sees all of eternity past and eternity future. Indeed, to Him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day (Psalm 90:4). God may have seemed slow to these believers as they faced persecution every day and longed to be delivered. But God is not slow; He simply doesn’t operate according to our timetable.
The second reason for the Lord being slow about His promise to return was His patience. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent. He wants as many people as will to come to have faith in Him. God is not “slow” at all; rather, according to His timetable, He is being exceedingly patient, giving people time to turn to Him. Love is the reason that He delays the destruction of the world.
Some have attempted to make this verse mean that ultimately everyone will be saved. But nowhere does Scripture teach universal salvation. This verse means that God, in His great compassion, does not desire that anyone should “perish” (referring to eternal destruction). He wants every person to turn to Him and trust Him. God is loving, but He also executes perfect justice. His perfect love causes Him to be merciful to those who recognize their sin and turn back to Him, but He cannot ignore those who willfully sin. Wicked people die both physically and spiritually. God takes no joy in their deaths; He would prefer that they turn to Him and have eternal life. However, the promise of judgment and destruction show that God knows that many will not choose to follow Him.
The day of the Lord is the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return and of God’s judgment on the earth. Peter repeated a warning used by our Lord Lord Jesus Christ, that this day will come as unexpectedly as a thief (see also Matthew 24:42-44). Our Lord Jesus Christ’s second coming will be swift, sudden, unexpected, and terrible for those who do not believe in Him. The day of the Lord will be a time of judgment and destruction. Again quoting words that He had heard Lord Jesus say, Peter described the coming end (see Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25).
Peter described three aspects of the conflagration or a large destructive fire:
- The heavens will pass away with a terrible noise describes the end of the earth’s atmosphere and the sky above. Everything in them will disappear in fire could mean that the celestial bodies will also be destroyed (the sun, moon, stars, and planets).
- The earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment is an extremely difficult phrase, which has given rise to numerous textual variants in various manuscripts. Some of the readings speak of the earth disappearing, others of it being burned up, and others of it being “exposed” so that all the works that people counted on in this earth in place of God will be revealed for their futility, and then they will all be annihilated. (See also Hebrews 1:10-12.)
When will these events occur? Some have placed them between the events of Revelation 20 (the thousand-year reign of Christ, Satan’s doom, the final judgment) and Revelation 21 (new heaven and new earth, the descent of the new Jerusalem).
Peter explained that this earth will not last forever. As God intervened in the past to judge the earth by water, so one day He will intervene again. But in that day, the judgment will be by fire, and everything will be destroyed. Those who presume to take God’s delay of this judgment to mean that they can do as they please will find themselves surprised upon His return. And when the destruction occurs, there will be no second chances and no escape for those who have chosen to disobey the Creator. However, in the following verses, Peter turned His attention to the believers, writing to them about how they should live in light of the coming judgment.
Peter’s description of the coming destruction of the earth ought to cause Christians to carefully examine their lives so that they are holy and godly. Such lives would be in direct contrast to the unholy living and godlessness found in the world. Such lives, lived through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, will continue on after the coming destruction. Because of that knowledge, the Christians need not fear that day; they could instead actually look forward to it.
Peter wrote that the Born-Again Christian believers can also actually hurry it along by continuing to live holy (dedicated to God and separated from evil) and godly (characterized by personal piety and worship) lives, praying (Matthew 6:10), and telling people about the Gospel (Matthew 24:14). Born-Again Christians are not called to sit and wait for the inevitable end; instead, our mission during our time on earth is to live for God and to tell the world the Gospel message. Our Lord Jesus Christ had explained that, before His return, “the Good News must first be preached to every nation” (Mark 13:10).
As noted above, at the end God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames (2 Peter 3:10). These will happen as a direct result of the coming of the day of God. The earth’s destruction will not be the result of any natural winding-down of the universe, but the result of God’s sovereign will, occurring according to His plan.
Born-Again Christian believers look forward to the end of the earth only because it means the fulfillment of another of God’s promises – His creation of the new heavens and new earth. God’s purpose for people is not destruction but re-creation; not annihilation, but renewal. God will purify the heavens and earth with fire; then He will create them anew. All believers can joyously look forward to the restoration of God’s good world (Romans 8:21). In a beautiful description of the new heavens and earth, believers are assured that it will be a world where everyone is right with God because God Himself will live among His people (see Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27).
Because believers can trust God’s promise to bring them into a new earth, and because they are waiting for these things to happen, they ought to live a pure and blameless life. To say it another way, only this powerful hope could entice us to live righteously. God’s Kingdom will be characterized by peace with God; therefore, believers ought to practice peace with God now, in preparation for living in the Kingdom. We should not become lazy and complacent just because our Lord Jesus Christ has not yet returned. Instead, we should live in eager expectation of His coming. What would you like to be doing when our Lord Jesus Christ returns? That is how you should be living each day.
As we as Born-Again Christian believers waited, perhaps impatiently, for our Lord’s return, let’s remind one to another, and others that the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved. God’s patience means salvation for many more who will have the chance to respond to the Gospel message.
Well, I hope and pray that we will understand God’s purpose for people is not destruction but re-creation; not annihilation, but renewal. We ought to practice peace with God now, in preparation for living in the God’s Kingdom. Before we can practice peace with God, we need to have the peace of God.
in the Bible, book of Philippians 4:6-7 says, “6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
If you think you do not have the peace of God yet, let me invite you to meet our Lord Jesus Christ. You’ll see one of our page, “Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ“.
God bless you and your family, and your loved ones.