|Vol. 13 No. 8 August 2011||
David A. Sargent
In the spring of 1981, a young man was flown into the desolate north country of Alaska to photograph the natural beauty and mysteries of the tundra. He took along photo equipment, 500 rolls of film, several firearms and 1400 pounds of provisions. As the months passed, the entries in his diary, which at first detailed his wonder and fascination with the wildlife around him, turned into a pathetic record of a nightmare.
In August he wrote, “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I’ll soon find out.” He waited and waited, but no one came to his rescue. In November, he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that he had carefully mapped out his venture, but had made no provision to be flown out of the area.
ALL of us need to make specific plans for our departure from this life. If we do not, we can be left in a predicament worse than that young man! “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
The way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Because of His great love for us, Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we might live with Him for an eternity (1 Thessalonians 5:10).
We accept the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) by placing our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10) and being baptized (immersed) into Christ so that our sins can be washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then, we are to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13-14).
Long ago, Moses bemoaned the sinful idolatry of the people of Israel and where it would lead them, saying: “Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end!” (Deuteronomy 32:29). Have you considered your latter end? Have you planned your departure? Trusting and obeying Christ is the only way to be prepared. Will you make preparation today?
When the idea for this lesson came to mind, the outside temperature was near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot. In recent years, the subject of global warming has been in the news. Some believe it to be a real concern; others believe it to be a hoax. Since there has been no detectable warming of our planet for the last 10 years, this has really concerned the adherents of global warming. Regardless of whether the average temperature of this earth has warmed by one degree over the last 100 years or not, the matters of 100 degree days in the summer and global warming are minor compared to what’s coming.
Based on our belief that God is and the Bible is His Word, we would now consider a much more important topic concerning heat. Some in Peter’s time questioned the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4). They said things in nature had not changed since creation, insinuating that this was proof that the promise of Jesus’ coming again had no basis. Peter then pointed out they had purposely disregarded the example of the flood. The same earth that perished in the flood was, by the same powerful Word of God, stored up (preserved, kept) for destruction by fire (2 Peter 3:1-7).
By the time we get to Chapter Three, Verse Ten, we should not be surprised by the emphatic statement “the day of the Lord will come.” The day of the Lord is referring to Jesus’ Second Coming at the end of time. He will come again “in like manner” as the apostles saw him going up to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). Jesus will come again for the purpose of the resurrection and the judgment (John 5:28-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; etc.). At this point, Peter described the destruction of the world at the end of time in heated terms. Some of the most amazing and terrifying truths in all of God’s Word are presented in 2 Peter 3:10. In that day when the Lord comes again, things are going to really heat up. “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Speaking of hot, Peter tells us the elements (the basic components that make up the heavens and the earth) will be dissolved with fervent heat. This will be accompanied by a great noise. I suspect nothing we have ever heard will compare to the sound that will be heard on that day! The heavens being on fire will be dissolved (v. 12). So, the great noise is related to the fervent heat and fire that will destroy the heavens and the earth. If there is any doubt whether “new heavens and a new earth” of verse 13 might refer to the old earth being remade or cleaned up for a millennial reign, Peter takes that out of the realm of possibility when he tells us the heavens shall pass away and the earth shall be burned up. Peter then presented a point of primary importance based on the truths of 2 Peter 3:10. Since these things are going to happen when Jesus returns, and we know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36), he said we ought to be living holy and godly lives, “looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12). However long the Lord’s coming is delayed, He is coming again. To make sure we know what that day will be like, Peter clearly and dramatically described the Day of the Lord. There is no way an honest student of the Word could misunderstand. Things as we know them will end. The heavens shall pass away, the elements shall be dissolved, and the earth and the works therein will be burned up. This should motive everyone to live righteously according to the will of God. The unbeliever and the unrighteous should fear and tremble at Peter’s words. Hopefully, if you are not a faithful child of God, you will choose to obey God before it is too late!