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                              2 Peter 3:13


1. In describing the events pertaining to the Day of the Lord, the
   apostle Peter...
   a. Depicts the destruction of the heavens and the earth - 2Pe 3:7,
   b. Declares that we look for new heavens and a new earth - 2Pe 3:13

2. The hope for new heavens and a new earth is based upon a promise;
   what promise has been made regarding such things...?
   a. One in the Old Testament, centuries before Peter's statement - Isa
      65:17; 66:22
   b. One in the New Testament, possibly decades after Peter's statement
      - Re 21:1

[Since we are to "look" for such things (2Pe 3:13), let's examine what
has been promised about a new heavens and a new earth...]


      1. A detailed promise of new heavens and a new earth - Isa 65:
         a. In conjunction with the promise of a new Jerusalem
         b. Depicting long life, physical blessings, peace among the
      2. A brief reference to new heavens and a new earth - Isa 66:22-24
         a. In conjunction with the preservation of Israel's remnant
         b. Depicting worship by the nations, torment of the

      1. Some understand these promises to apply figuratively to
         Israel's return from exile
         a. "The passage before us is highly poetical, and we are not
            required to understand it literally.... The immediate
            reference here is, doubtless, to the land of Palestine, and
            to the important changes which would be produced there on
            the return of the exiles;" - Albert Barnes, Notes On The
            Bible, commentary on Isa 65:17
         b. "I think it refers to the full conversion of the Jews
            ultimately; and primarily to the deliverance from the
            Babylonish captivity." - Adam Clarke, Commentary on the
            Bible, commentary on Isa 65:17
      2. Some suggest a secondary if not primary reference to the church
         a. "but it cannot be doubted that, under this imagery, there
            was couched a reference to far more important changes and
            blessings in future times under the Messiah - changes as
            great as if a barren and sterile world should become
            universally beautiful and fertile." - Barnes, ibid.
         b. "We conclude that...Isaiah's new heavens and new earth are
            the present order under Christ (65:17), which followed the
            passing of the old heathen systems (34:3-4) and the Jewish
            order (51:6,16)..." - Homer Hailey, A Commentary on Isaiah,
            Appendix B, p. 539
         c. "Isaiah used this...imagery when he prophesied of the new
            order that was to replace the Mosaic economy." - Robert
            Harkrider, Revelation, Truth Commentary, p. 239
      3. Others suggest a secondary if not primary reference to the
         eternal state of the redeemed
         a. "Isaiah 65:17-25 must also be understood as describing the
            final state of the redeemed" - Anthony Hoekema, The Bible
            and The Future, p. 178
         b  "This passage (Isa 65:17-25)...does not need to be
            interpreted as describing the millennium, but makes good
            sense when understood to be an inspired picture of the new
            earth which is to come." - ibid., p. 203
         c. "'The new heavens and the new earth,' like many other
            prophecies has an immediate and a remote fulfillment, the
            first being the creation of 'an utterly new environment' in
            the first advent of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel
            to Jews and Gentiles alike. The remote and final fulfillment
            is yet to occur when God will shake the earth the second
            time, signifying its 'removal' (He 12:27), when the present
            earth and the works within it are 'burned up' (2Pe 3:7-10),
            when the 'elements shall melt with fervent heat,' and when
            has arrived that final 'day of judgment and destruction of
            ungodly men.' It is freely admitted that these sensational
            promises could all be interpreted figuratively; but this
            writer, along with many others, clings to the conviction
            that cosmic disturbances of the most tremendous and far-
            reaching nature are most surely associated with the final
            Judgment Day in the Word of God." - James Burton Coffman,
            commentary on Isa 65:17-25

      1. The final chapters of Isaiah (60-66) concentrate on the glory
         to come for restored Zion
      2. I believe much of this section was fulfilled with the
         inauguration of the Messianic age in the first coming of Christ
      3. Isaiah may have also looked forward to the future glory of Zion
         (spiritual Israel, i.e., the church) to be experienced at the
         culmination of the Messiah's reign at the end of time,
         following the resurrection and final judgment - cf. Isa 11:1-4
      4. If so, Isaiah framed his description of the new heavens and new
         earth in terms to which the Babylonian captives could easily
      5. Thus I tend to favor Coffman's perspective of both an immediate
         and remote fulfillment
         a. The immediate fulfillment pertained to the first advent of
         b. The remote fulfillment pertains to the second advent of

[When Peter said "according to His promise", I believe he had reference
to the promise made in Isaiah, first written to provide great hope to
Israel facing Babylonian captivity.  To Christians in the first century
facing persecution, a similar prophecy concerning new heavens and a new
earth was written to them...]


      1. The present earth and heaven are no more - Re 20:11
         a. At the day of Judgment they have "fled away"
         b. There was found "no place for them"
      2. John saw a new heaven and new earth - Re 21:1
         a. For the first heaven and first earth had "passed away"
         b. There was also "no more sea"

      1. Some believe it is a depiction of the church today
         a. Following the persecution by the forces of Satan in the
            first couple of centuries
         b. A picture of the church purged and purified by suffering
      2. Others believe it is a depiction of the eternal state of the
         a. "Peter and John were both writing of the final judgment and
            what should follow, rather than of the church today, purged
            and purified by suffering." - Homer Hailey, A Commentary on
            Revelation, p. 406
         b. "John's prophecy in this vision was about things beyond the
            final judgment (20:13)...From Peter and John's position in
            time, the destiny of the redeemed after the final judgment
            stands in contrast to this present era of the church age."
            - Harkrider, ibid.

      1. Revelation was written to comfort persecuted Christians in Asia
         Minor - Re 1:4
      2. It describes events that would "shortly take place" - Re 1:1,3;
      3. Such Christians were assured that Christ would be victorious
         - Re 17:14
         a. Over the harlot, first supported by the beast and then
            devoured by it - Re 17:3,16
         b. Over the beast and the false prophet, puppets of Satan - Re
            13:1-4,11-12; 19:20
         c. Over Satan himself, first by binding him for a long time
            - Re 20:1-3
      4. The Christians in Asia Minor were also comforted by scenes in
         the distant future, similar to how Isaiah comforted his
         contemporaries by looking to the future
         a. The ultimate end of Satan - Re 20:7-10
         b. Deliverance from condemnation at the Judgment - Re 20:11-15
         c. The eternal blessedness of the heavenly city - Re 21:1-22:5
      5. Thus I favor the perspective espoused above by Hailey and
         a. John wrote of the final judgment and what was to follow
         b. He depicted the destiny of the redeemed after the final

[Having now reviewed the prophecies of God and Jesus as found in Isaiah
and Revelation, let's summarize what is "The Promise Of New Heavens And
A New Earth"...]


      1. Some believe it has nothing to do with heaven, but only the
         church today
      2. Many believe it to be a metaphor of heaven itself, in which we
         will spend eternity
      3. Yet the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed, the New
         Jerusalem, is depicted as being separate from the present
         dwelling place of God (i.e., heaven)
         a. "...the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from
            My God." - Re 3:12
         b. "... the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
            from God" - Re 21:2
         c. "... the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God"
            - Re 21:10
      4. As depicted, the eternal destiny of the redeemed is...
         a. Not our spending eternity with God in heaven (His current
            dwelling place)
         b. But God spending eternity with us in the New Jerusalem which
            comes down out of heaven (His current dwelling place) - cf.
            Re 21:2-3,22-23; 22:3-5
      5. This eternal heavenly city, which comes down out of heaven, is
         depicted in the context of the new heavens and a new earth - Re
         a. Not in heaven itself, where God now dwells
         b. But in a whole new order or spiritual state, where God will
            dwell with us!

      1. Some believe the "new" heavens and earth are the old purified
         and renovated
         a. Including amillenialists like Barnes, B.W. Johnson, Hoekema,
         b. Some arguments in favor
            1) The Greek word kainos (new, 2Pe 3:13; Re 21:1) does not
               mean new in time or origin, but new in nature or quality
            2) Renewal over annihilation seems to be supported by Paul
               in Ro 8:19-22
            3) A supposed analogy between the new earth and the
               resurrected bodies of believers
            4) If annihilation instead of renewal, then Satan would have
               won a great victory
      2. Others believe the "new" heavens and earth are a new creation
         a. Such as Hailey
         b. Some arguments in favor
            1) The Hebrew word bara (create, Isa 65:17) is the same word
               used to describe the initial creation of the heavens and
               earth - cf. Gen 1:1; Isa 40:26
            2) Jesus said, "heaven and earth will pass away" - Mt 24:35
            3) The Hebrew writer refers to "the removal of those things
               that are being shaken" (i.e., heaven and earth) - He 12:
            4) Peter tells us concerning the present heavens and earth:
               a) The heavens will pass away, be dissolved, being on
                  fire - 2Pe 3:10,12
               b) The elements will melt with fervent heat - 2Pe 3:10,
               c) The earth and the works in it will be burned up - 2 Pe
            5) John describes the present heavens and earth:
               a) As "fled away" - Re 20:11
               b) Had "passed away" - Re 21:1
      3. Some are uncertain, such as Coffman (and myself):
         a. "We confess our inability to find any certainty on this
         b. "It is not really necessary for us to know exactly what may
            be meant by this promise"


1. One may be uncertain whether the old heavens and old earth will be...
   a. Renovated by fire, in preparation as an eternal dwelling place
   b. Annihilated by fire, to be replaced by a totally new eternal
      dwelling place

2. Yet one can be certain that in some way there will be new heavens and
   a new earth...
   a. For God has promised it - 2Pe 3:13
   b. And God cannot lie! - Tit 1:2; He 6:17-18

How then should we live in view of this promise?  Hear the words of

   "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent
   to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;"
                                                         - 2Pe 3:14

Are we looking forward to those things described by Peter and John?
Even more important, are we being diligent to be found prepared for when
Jesus comes again...?
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