I wish here to discuss God's purpose for the earth. Some people believe that God would destroy our earth. Is that what the Scriptures teach? No. Rather, the Scriptures clearly teach that earth is man's everlasting home. For instance, the Scriptures show that our earth is going to last forever according to Ecclesiastes 1:4. God's purpose for the earth is that it be inhabited with righteous people. Isaiah 45:18; Psalms 37:11, 29. So the time is coming when this earth will be transformed into a Paradise. The wicked will be destroyed. Psalms 37:9, 10. 2 Thessalonians 1:6 - 9.
This is not surprising. When God made Adam and Eve, he placed them in a beautiful garden home, the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:8. He told them to have children and take care of the earth. Genesis 1:28; 2:15. This was God's assignment for Adam and Eve. Their children would eventually spread Paradise all over the globe.
It was NEVER God's purpose that people should die as some people think. Death was to be the punishment for disobedience. Genesis 2:16, 17. If Adam and Eve had not eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would not have died; rather, they would still have been living today on earth. God has given the earth for humans to live on. Psalms 115:16.
Sadly, sin and death were introduced after Adam and Eve sinned, bringing suffering to mankind. Happily though, Jesus Christ has given his life as a ransom for mankind so that we can regain what Adam lost for his offspring, that is, everlasting life in Paradise on earth. Yes. This is what God purposed in the beginning and it will be accomplished at God's appointed time. His purpose can NEVER fail. Isaiah 55:11. Satan, by misleading Adam and Eve only interrupted God's purpose for a time, but he can NEVER, and will NEVER stop God's purpose for our earth from taking place.
From the foregoing, we can see that earth will become a Paradise in the future. Righteous humans will live forever upon the earth with no sickness, old age or death. Revelation 21:3, 4. This is what the Bible REALLY teaches.
Do you agree that this is God's Purpose for the earth?
Of course, some from among God's people are chosen to rule with Christ in a heavenly Kingdom or Government.(Daniel 7:13,14,27; John 14:2, 3; 2 Timothy 4:18; Isaiah 9:6, 7) These ones are a "little flock".(Luke 12:32) They will rule with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6) Christ and the "little flock" will rule over those righteous ones who will be living on earth.(Psalms 37:29; Matthew 5:5) Countless blessings will flow to those on earth. (Psalms 145:16)
Knowing these facts based on the Scriptures should move us to want to find out what God's Will is for us and seek to do it in the way that GOD requires, rather than just doing what WE think is right. (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 7:21; 1 John 2:17)
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”
Kindly consider the following:
Will Godreally destroy the earth by fire?
Does 2Peter 3:7,10King James version(KJ) support that view? "The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition ["destruction," Revised Standard] of ungodly men. ... The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up ["burned (burnt) up," Revised Standard, Jerusalem Bible; "will vanish," Today's English Version; "will be made manifest," New American Bible; "will be laid bare," New English; "will be discovered," New World Translation]." (Note: The Codex Sinaiticus and Vatican MS 1209, both of the 4th century C.E., read "be discovered." Later manuscripts, the 5th-century Codex Alexandrinus and the 16th-century Clementine recension of the Vulgate, read "be burned up.")
Does Revelation 21:1 (KJ) indicate that our planet will be destroyed? "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."
To be correct, the explanation of these verses must agree with the context and with the rest of the Bible
If these texts (2Peter 3:7,10 and Revelation 21:1) mean that the literal planet Earth is to be consumed by fire, then the literal heavens (the stars and other heavenly bodies) are also to be destroyed by fire. Such a literal view, however, conflicts with the assurance contained in such texts as Matthew 6:10, Psalm 37:29 and 104:5, Ecclesiastes 1:4, also Proverbs 2:21,22. Furthermore, what effect would fire have on the already intensely hot sun and stars? So the term "earth" in the above-quoted texts must be understood in a different sense.
At Genesis 11:1,First Kings 2:1, 2,First Chronicles 16:31, Psalm 96:1, etc., the term "earth" is used in a figurative sense, referring to mankind, to human society. Might that be the case at 2Peter 3:7,10and Revelation 21:1?
Note that, in the context, at 2Peter 3:5,6(also 2:5,9), a parallel is drawn with the Flood of Noah's day, in which wicked human society was destroyed, but Noah and his household, as well as the globe itself, were preserved. Likewise, at 2Peter 3:7 it says that the ones to be destroyed are "ungodly men." The view that "the earth" here refers to wicked human society fully agrees with the rest of the Bible, as is illustrated by the texts cited above. It is that symbolic "earth," or wicked human society, that is "discovered"; that is,God will sear away as by fire all disguise, exposing the wickedness of ungodly human society and showing it to be worthy of complete destruction. That wicked society of humans is also "the first earth," referred to at Revelation 21:1 (KJV).
Thanks for your response. You make some good points, but I believe you fail to prove your main point. I have most of the translations you mention, but the ones most scholars consider to be the best are the King James, The New King James, The Revised Standard, The American Standard, The New American Standard and the recently released English Standard Version. They all teach that the earth will be destroyed. I quoted from the New King James Version.
Yes, as you say, “to be correct, the explanation of these verses must agree with the context and with the rest of the Bible.” I agree with that statement. However, agreeing with the context should be the first consideration. You mention Revelation 21:1. I would never go to the Book of Revelation to prove my point. Revelation is mostly figurative language and is subject to immense misinterpretation when people try to make it literal. Let us not use it to prove or disprove what is clearly taught in other places in the Bible.
What is the context of II Peter 3? Peter says in verse 1 that he is writing them to stir up their minds and in verse 2 that they be mindful of the words spoken by the holy prophets. Then he says in verse 3 that scoffers would come in the last days walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (Verse 4)
Now Peter proceeds to answer the scoffers. He says the heavens were of old by the word of God and the earth standing out of water and in the water by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. (verses 5-6). Did that actually happen? The answer is yes. Certainly, the created universe was not annihilated. This cannot be the meaning of perished. Neither the heavens nor the earth were annihilated. The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being. Arndt and Gingrich say of the term in the middle voice that it means “be destroyed, ruined.”
When Peter begins verse 7 with “But” he may mean to show the contrast between the destruction by water and the one to come by fire. Or it may simply be used to call attention to another matter that escaped the notice of these scoffers. Lenski indicates it has the sense of “on the other hand” to refer to the last judgment. Peter is speaking of the celestial bodies in the limitless expanse around the earth by the use of the word ouranoi, heavens. By the expression earth, he simply means the planet composed of dry land and seas. It is a common sense expression concerning the cosmic system in which human beings live. Combine the heavens and the earth and one has the physical or material universe. The definite article appearing with each of these terms indicates that the cosmic universe as men know it is under view. Water was used in the previous disruption of heaven and earth and fire will be involved in this cataclysm which he predicts is coming.
Now to verses 10-12. Staying in context within this chapter, if there was an actual flood, there will be an actual fire. Peter says “the heavens will pass away with a great noise.” Scoffers have based their arguments on the immutability of the cosmic universe, but Peter here shows at the day of the Lord, there will be a conflagration in the burning of the heavens, the same ones which opened to send torrents of water on the earth in the flood during Noah’s time. These are the bodies in the universe that God created in Gen. 1:1. These bodies surround the earth.
He says “the elements will melt with fervent heat.” Peter is dealing with the immutability and consistency argument of the scoffers and gets to the heart of its error. What is under view is the basic stuff of the universe, and one needs to look carefully at the action of the verbs Peter uses to explain what is going to happen to these substances. The idea of dissolution of the heavens and the earth is what is under view. The elements which form the constituent parts of the coherent cosmic universe will be dissolved or consumed by burning. The Greek word here for earth simply refers to the land mass in the solar system where human and lower animal life exist. Verse 12 repeats that the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat.
I could say a lot more, but the above will suffice. Peter said that scoffers would come and they have come.
Earth will last forever. AtEcclesiastes 1:4, a contrast is made in this text. A generation is temporary but the earth is permanent, "abideth forever".If earth is temporary, then the contrast made in this text becomes meaningless. It would be as if the text is saying, "a generation is temporary, but the earth is temporary"; a meaningless statement
Really, there is NOTHING wrong with the earth, it's the people who work against God's Will that is the problem. So God will rid the earth of the wicked and allow righteous mankind to remain. Psalms 37:9, 10, 29; Proverbs 2:21, 22; Matthew 5:5.
Have a good day.
No the earth will not last forever as you evidently think the word “forever” means. The word forever is not used in the Bible to always mean never ending. The Pulpit Commentary says about Eccl. 1:4, the following: “The term “forever” does not necessarily imply eternity, but often denotes limited or conditioned duration, as when the slave is engaged to serve his master “forever” (Ex.21:6). Of course, the slave will not serve for eternity because he will die. The earth will not last forever because it will be destroyed. The Bible does not contradict itself.
I could go on and on showing how the Bible uses the word “forever” to mean a long time, but not for eternity. Look at just the following:
1. Gen. 13:15. Did the descendants of Abraham keep the land promised forever? Of course not.
2. Ex. 27:21. Are the statues of the Law of Moses forever? Of course not.
3. I Sam. 1:22. When Hannah left Samuel to serve before the Lord forever, he did serve a long time, but he died and his service ended.
4. II Kings 5:27. Is the leprosy of Naaman still clinging to his descendants? Of course not.
You seem to be an intelligent fellow. However, in my humble opinion, your problem is that you are trying to defend a false doctrine and as a result you misunderstand what the Bible teaches. Please just go to the scriptures with an open mind and try to understand what they say.
Have a good study.
I do know that "forever"differs in meaning at times as used in the Scriptures. However,as I said before, at Ecclesiastes 1:4, it is used as a CONTRAST with a generation. Ecclesiastes 1:4 = "one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever." "passeth away" means of "limited duration". If "forever" means "limited duration" at Ecclesiastes 1:4, then that text is rendered meaningless, as if saying: "One generation is of limited durationBUT the earth is of "limited duration."Why the term, BUT? It shows contrast. That is, unlike a generation that is of limited duration, the earth is ofunlimited duration. Hence, I cannot agree with the Pulpit Commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:4. What other reasonable explanation can be given for Ecclesiastes 1:4?
Wish you a good day.
Thanks for your thoughtful response. You make a good point. Yes, within the context of that verse the earth will last longer than a generation. In fact, it will last longer than many generations. Generations will come and go and the earth will continue on much, much longer. But, there will come a time when all generations will pass away and no other generations will come on this earth. That will be when Christ comes in final judgment (Mt. 25). Generations are of limited durations, and the earth, while much longer, is also of a limited duration. Because II Peter 3 tells us it is. The Bible does not contradict itself. The earth can’t both last throughout eternity and be destroyed. That’s how we know that “forever” is of limited duration in Eccl. 1:4, just as it is in other places in the Bible.
Here is the problem. The Pulpit Commentary has no doctrine to defend. The writers are just trying to interpret what is said in view of the context and all Bible teaching. I have no doctrine defend. I am only interested in what the Bible teaches. On the other hand, you do have a doctrine to defend and thus you fail to understand. If you will open your mind without your doctrine in view, you can understand the Bible more clearly.
Thanks for the kind way you have conducted this discussion.