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Second Peter 3:10
MacArthur Study Bible
'(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews, some of them believing, others opposing, the faith. Now there was no particular concernment of that generation, nor in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general ; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation ; and, besides, an ample testimony both to the one and the other of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was the thing in question between them.
'(2.) Peter tells them, that after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of (vers. 7-13), " We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,' etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? Where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. lxv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God shall create these new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness? Saith Peter, " It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell." But now it is evident from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi. 21, 22, that this is a prophecy of Gospel times only; and that the planting of these new heavens is nothing but the creation of Gospel ordinances to endure for ever. The same thing is so expressed Heb. xii. 26-28.
First, There is the foundation of the apostle's inference and exhortation, seeing that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, in a day of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; let others mock at the threats of Christ's coming: He will come- He will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God Himself planted, -the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and church, -the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinancy against the Lord Christ, shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed: this we know shall be the end of these things, and that shortly." (John Owen on Second Peter)
"The period of the close of the one dispensation and the commencement of the other, is spoken of as "the last days," and "the end of the world," and is described as such a shaking of the earth and heavens, as should lead to the removal of the things which were shaken (Hag. ii.6, Heb xiv. 26,27).
"It appears, then, that is Scripture be the best interpreter of Scripture, we have in the Old Testament a key to the interpretation of the prophecies in the New. The same symbolism is found in both, and the imagery of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the other prophets helps us to understand the imagery of St. Matthew, St. Peter, and St. John. As the dissolution of the material world is not necessary to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, neither is it necessary to the accomplishment of the predictions of the New Testament. But though symbols are metaphorical expressions, they are not unmeaning. It is not necessary to allegorise them, and find a corresponding equivalent for every trope; it is sufficient to regard the imagery as employed to heighten the sublimity of the prediction and to clothe it with impressiveness and grandeur. There are, at the same time, a true propriety and an underlying reality in the symbols of prophecy. The moral and spiritual facts which they represent, the social and ecumenical changes which they typify, could not be adequately set forth by language less majestic and sublime. There is reason for believing that an inadequate apprehension of the real grandeur and significance of such events as the destruction of Jerusalem and the abrogation of the Jewish economy lies at the root of that system of interpretation which maintains that nothing answering to the symbols of the New Testament prophecy has ever taken place. Hence the uncritical and unscriptural figments of double senses, and double, triple, and multiple fulfillments of prophecy. That physical disturbances in nature and extraordinary phenomena in the heavens and in the earth may have accompanied the expiring throes of the Jewish dispensation we are not prepared to deny. It seems to us highly probable that such things were. But the literal fulfillment of the symbols is not essential to the verification of prophecy, which is abundantly proved to be true by the recorded facts of history." (vol. i. p.200).
"The end of all things" here is the entire end of the Jewish economy in the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the dispersal of the holy people. That was at hand; for this epistle seems to have been written a very short while before these events took place....It is quite plain that in our Lord's predictions, the expressions "the end" and probably "the end of the world" are used in reference to the entire dissolution of the Jewish economy (cf. Matt.24:3, 6, 14, 34; Rom. 13:11-12; James 5:8-9). " (Quoted in Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1954), 107.)
“The heavenly Jerusalem is the bride of Christ that came down from God to replace the earthly Jerusalem (Rev.21:2-5) in the first century (Rev.1:1, 3; 22:6, 10). With the shaking and destruction of the old Jerusalem in A.D.70, the heavenly (re-created) Jerusalem replaced her: His “voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made [i.e., the Levitical ritual system73], that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Heb.12:26-28).
Contrary to amillennialism, there is no reason, neither is there “substantial evidence…for identifying [Isaiah 65:17ff] with the perfect eternal state.”74 Isaiah speaks of glorious elevated conditions, but conditions still continuous with the present. This is evident in the experiencing of birth, aging, death, time, sin, and curse: “No more shall an infant [“suckling”] from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accused” (Isa.65:20). Sinners will not be in the post-resurrection perfect state.
Adams defends the amillennial interpretation of these elements with a rhetorical question: “How else can perfection be described in words which have imperfect objects and concepts as reerents.”75 The answer is: Easily! Surely it is not impossible to think of post-resurrection perfection without mentioning six elements of temporal imperfection in the same sentence!
Fellow amillennialist Hoekema also deals with the passage rhetorically by reference to Isaiaah 65:19: “Can one imagine death without weeping?”76 This is surely less difficult than imagining death without death (cf.65:20). But in the context, the reference is to be understood culturally: when God’s blessings come upon His city and people, the “old things” (65:17) of cultural judgment, devastation, and sorrow due to sinful rebellion (65:2-8, 11-12) will pass away. The rejoicing of God in His people collectively considered will lead to the relief of their sorrow caused by His past displeasure and cultural wrath (cf.Deut. 28:15ff; Psa. 137). No longer will the “cry of distress” be heard from His people (cf. 2Sam.22:7; Psa.18:6; Isa.19:20), because the world will be dominated by them and not by the oppressor (65:25).
The covenantal language here shows that culture-wide disinheritance caused by rebellion will be a thing of the past. Instead, covenantally inheritance will prevail: “They shall build houses and inhabit them, they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit, they shall not plant and another eat, for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa.65:21-22). This reverses covenantal curse language (which Isaiah spoke so much about): “You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes” (Deut.28:30; cf.Zeph.1:13; Mic.6:15).
The New Heavens and New Earth here (and many places elsewhere) has reference to the New Covenant era. It characterizes the system-wide transformation that will occur with spread of the gospel." (He Shall Have Dominion, pp.363-365, ICE pub.1992)
"That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. 24:29,30, 'The sun shall be darkened &c. Then shall appear the 'sign of the Son of man,' &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2 Pet. 3:10, 'The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,' &c. Compare with this Deut. 32:22, Heb. 12:26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal 4:9, Coloss. 2:20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses" (vol. 3, p. 452).
"(Peter, in the second epistle,) sets forth the destruction of that cursed Nation and their City in those terms that Christ had done, Matt. 24. and that the Scripture doth elsewhere, Deut. 32.22,23.24. Jer. 4.23. namely as the destruction of the whole world, The heavens passing away, the elements melting, and the earth burnt up, &c. And accordingly speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, from Isa. 65.17. a new state of the Church under the Gospel among the Gentiles, when this old world of the Jews state should be dissolved." (Works, Vol. I., p. 338.)
"The language of 2 Pet. 3:10-12 is taken mainly from Isa. 34:4, and is limited to the parousia, like the language of Matt. 24:29. Then the Lord made "not only the land but also the heaven" to tremble (Heb. 12:26), and removed the things that were shaken in order to establish a kingdom which cannot be moved." (Biblical Hermeneutices: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1974), 489.)
New Geneva Study Bible
OTHER NEW TESTAMENT USAGESGalatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
2 Peter 3:10 But 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.
2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
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