PRESENT HEAVENS AND EARTH BY HIS
WORD ARE BEING RESERVED FOR FIRE : Hoi de nun ouranoi kai te ge to auto
logo tethesaurismenoi (RPPMSN) eisin
(3PPAI) puri: (See
Easton's Bible Dict,
ISBE, Torrey's Topic "Fire") (2Peter
3:10; Ps 50:3; 102:26; Is 51:6; Zeph 3:8; Mt 24:35; 25:41; 2Th 1:8; Rev
Peter is addressing the mockers who say that things will never change.
He has presented the historical truths they willfully ignore that by
the Word of God two great past cataclysmic events have occurred -- the
Creation of the heavens and the earth and the destruction of the world
by the Genesis flood.
(1161) (de) contrasts the flood judgment with the fire judgment (see discussion on
of contrast in the observation phase of Inductive Bible
The fact that one cataclysmic judgment has taken place in history is
clear indication that God can intervene again with fire if He so
chooses. It is interesting that although other passages allude to the
fiery demise of planet earth, 2 Peter provides the only specific
NT description of this future event (2Pe 3:7; 10; 12-see notes
Paul contrasts the "now heavens" over against the "then world' of verse
present (3568) (nun = now) heavens
points to the present cosmic system as we know it today and which has
existed since the Genesis flood. Prior to the flood, the cosmos was
different, as testified by the long life span (~900 years) of pre-flood
man compared to post-flood man (~70 years).
By His Word (3056)
-- God made the earth and "by
His Word" he
sustains the heavens and earth we now live in until He determines it is
time to intervene with fire the final cataclysmic event. Here Peter says
the Word which created, now keeps the heavens and earth stored up for
this fire. Clearly Peter wants his readers to understand that the world
and all that is within it from beginning to end is dependent upon the
omnipotent Word of God. Jesus presented a similar prophecy when He said
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. (Mt
Luke reminds us that
from God shall be void of power
This prophetic word is
so we can be sure that this prophesied fiery destruction
will come, but not until God say's "Let it come."
The writer of
Hebrews says Jesus holds all things together by the
of His power.
(Heb 1:3-note, cf
Do you really believe that God's Word is this certain,
this powerful and
Do you show it by treasuring it in your heart
you may not sin against Him
There is no fear of judgment for the one who judges himself or herself
according to the Word of God.
Being reserved (2343)
from thesaurós =
treasure, deposit = place where something is kept = treasure box, chest,
storehouse, storeroom. English = thesaurus, a treasury of words) means
to lay away, to to amass or reserve, to store up or treasure up goods
for future use. It can mean to hoard. The idea is to lay up or store up
something to keep it safe. Most of the uses in Scripture are literal
storing up but there are some uses that are figurative such as storing
up of wrath (Romans 2:5-note)
The root word
thesauros in secular Greek means: a treasure chamber, a storage
room, granary, strong-box or a treasure per se. Even at a very early
period temples were built with treasure chambers, where gifts and taxes
in kind and money could be stored. The practice appears to have spread
from Egypt to Greece. Collecting boxes were also known (cf. 2Ki 12:10).
NIDNTT writes that the root word
thesauros is found from Hesiod
onwards. Its etymology is uncertain, and it is probably a technical
loan-word. It means:
(a) a treasure chamber, a storage
room, granary, strong-box;
(b) treasure. Even at a very early
period temples were built with treasure chambers, where gifts and taxes
in kind and money could be stored. The practice appears to have spread
from Egypt to Greece. Collecting boxes were also known (cf. 2 Ki 12:10).
Thesaurizo is used similarly
in the sense of storing up treasure, or putting it in safe
Mandaean Gnostic literature made use
of the concepts of the treasure-house and the treasure of
life and light from which the soul takes its rise, and to which it may
return after it has experienced salvation (cf. W. Foerster, Gnosis: A
Selection of Gnostic Texts)...
In later Judaism good works, e.g.
alms giving, are a treasure which is stored up as a reward in the
world to come, while the interest is enjoyed in this world as well (cf.
Tob. 4:8ff.; 2 Esd. 6:5ff.; 7:77; Tosefta Peah 4:18; SB I 430). “All
that Israel lays up in the form of fulfilments of the Law and good
works, it lays up for its Father in heaven” (Deut. R. 1 on Deut. 1:1;
cf. F. Hauck, TDNT III 137; SB I 431).
The rabbis sometimes spoke of the
treasure from which the scribe draws and of the treasure house of
eternal life, i.e. the place where the souls of the dead are stored up,
or the “bundle” in which they are “bound” (cf. 1 Sam. 15:29; F. Hauck,
ibid.; SB II 268; III 803). (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
The verb thesaurizo
is used similarly in the sense of storing up treasure or putting it in
MacArthur adds that...
The Greek also carries the
connotation of stacking or laying out horizontally, as one stacks coins.
In the context of this passage the idea is that of stockpiling or
hoarding, and therefore pictures wealth that is not being used. The
money or other wealth is simply stored for safekeeping; it is kept for
the keeping’s sake to make a show of wealth or to create an environment
of lazy overindulgence (cf. Luke 12:16-21).
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary
Chicago: Moody Press)
God is holding the earth
"by His Word" on a divine "layaway plan" so to speak.
perfect tense speaks of the
duration or permanence of this divine "reservation".
It is as if this "reservation" was made at some point in time in the
past and is still "reserved", under girding the truth that it will come
to pass in God's perfect timing regardless of how much unbelievers scoff
at its delay.
Paul uses thesaurizo in (Ro 2:5)
to describe men "storing up wrath" for themselves.
Peter says that God is storing up the world for revelation of His
righteous wrath. Peter explains "reserved
for fire" in
the following passages (v10-13)
(remember that the golden rule of accurate interpretation is
are 8 uses of thesaurizo in the NT...
Matthew 6:19 (see note)
imperative + a
negative = command to stop action already in process)
for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and
where thieves break in and steal. (The saying is
true...You can't take it with you!)
"But lay up
make this the habit of your life! Don't be stingy!)
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal
Luke 12:21 So is the man who
lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Romans 2:5 (note)
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are
storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and
revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Comment: The one who
remains unrepentant is steadily storing up wrath. There is an
interesting ironic contrast for on one hand Paul has just referred to
the riches of God's kindness, forbearance and patience [see note
on which the Jew is in fact presuming, and, on the other hand, with the
Jewish conception of treasure stored up in the world to come as a reward
for good works - see the preceding discussion in the NIDNTT re Judaism
1 Corinthians 16:2 On the
first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save,
as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. (These
instructions on storing up refer to the collection for the poor of
2 Corinthians 12:14 Here for
this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to
you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not
responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for
their children. (In context Paul is speaking of his forthcoming visit
and his determination not to be a burden to them. He regards himself as
their father, and hence is under obligation to support them and not vice
James 5:3 Your gold and your
silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and
will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you
have stored up your treasure! (Comment: James speaks
of judgment which awaits those who are preoccupied with temporal,
earthly treasures. The irony is that while these people thought that
they were storing up treasure, they were, in fact, storing up wrath as
2 Peter 3:7 (note) But the present
heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire,
kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
has 9 uses of
thesaurizo (2 Ki. 20:17; Ps. 39:6; Prov. 1:18; 2:7; 13:22;
16:27; Amos 3:10; Mic. 6:10; Zech. 9:3; Matt. 6:19f; Lk. 12:21; Rom.
2:5; 1 Co. 16:2; 2 Co. 12:14; Jas. 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:7) and is used both
literally and figuratively.
2 Kings 20:17 'Behold, the
days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your
fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to
Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD.
Proverbs 2:7 He stores up
(Hebrew = tsaphan = hide, treasure, store up; Lxx = thesaurizo) sound
wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Amos 3:10 "But they do not
know how to do what is right," declares the LORD, "these who hoard up
(Hebrew = 'atsar = store up, save, lay up; Lxx = thesaurizo) violence
and devastation in their citadels."
(4442) (pur) as Peter uses it refers to literal combustion
of flammable materials and thus pictures
a radical purging of
the heavens and earth of sin and the ungodly. No wonder they mock their
frightening future fate as "fiction".
Dictionary states that...
Figuratively, fire is a
symbol of Jehovah's presence and the instrument of his power (Exodus
14:19; Numbers 11:1,3; Judges 13:20; 1Kings 18:38; 2Kings 1:10,12; 2:11;
Isaiah 6:4; Ezek. 1:4; Revelation 1:14, etc.).(cf Ge15:17-18).
could not be a better
for Jehovah than fire,
which is immaterial, mysterious, but visible, warming, cheering,
comforting, and finally also terrible and consuming. God for example is
described as a "consuming fire"
(Ex 24:17 Dt 4:24 see He 12:29-note,
cf He 10:27-note).
references to fire
in the Bible emphasize God’s judgment on wickedness and unbelief.
The prophet Amos warned Israel
Seek the Lord and live, lest He
break out like a fire in the house
of Joseph and devour it (Amos 5:6)
In the NT, eternal damnation is pictured as an everlasting
Fire from heaven is
described as an instrument of God’s wrath to crush the satanic rebellion
The prophet Malachi describes the return of the Lord Jesus in terms of
But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He
appears? For He is like a refiner's
and like fullers' soap
Although this event (His second coming) is 1000 years prior to the fiery
destruction of the universe that will occur at the end of the Messiah's
1000 year reign on earth (according
to a literal interpretation of the chronology of the events in
Rev 20-21). God put the rainbow in the sky as a sign of His covenantal promise that He would
never destroy the world again by water (Ge 9:13).
Peter says that in the future, God
will destroy the heavens and the earth by
(cf. Da 7:9,10; Mic 1:4; Mal 4:1;Ps 97:3)
KEPT FOR THE DAY OF JUDGMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF UNGODLY MEN: teroumenoi
(PPPMPN) eis hemeran kriseos kai apoleias ton asebon anthropon:
(Torrey's Topic Day
of Judgment) (2Pe 2:9; Mt 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; Mk
6:11; 1Jn4:17) (Ro 2:5; Php 1:28; 2Th 2:3; 1Ti 6:9; Rev 17:8, Rev 17:11)
Kept (5083) (tereo
[word study]) means to keep in view, watch over, guard.
Tereo is used 4 times in 2 Peter, each time in connection with
the judgment of the ungodly (2Peter 2:4, 2:9, 2:17, 3:7). But as the water of the pre-flood world was
under the control of God, so the fire of the present age is kept preserved (in
restraint) by that same word.
of Judgment - When does this day occur? Comparing other
Scriptures it is clear that the present order of things (physical and
spiritual) will be forever destroyed at the end of the 1000 year reign
of Christ, which will also mark the end of the period known as the Day
of the Lord
which will be more fully discussed in the notes below on (2Pe 3:10
(see krisis below) as in most
of the Scriptural uses refers to a distinction
made between good and evil, right and wrong. Peter is referring to a
when the world will be destroyed (and separated) by a "judgment of
refers to a distinction, a separation or a discrimination. This root is
seen in many English words, including "crisis" (a decisive
time when judgment must be made) and "critical" (a
decisive point at which judgment is seen). In early Greek krisis
was related to the supposed activities of the gods, who were guardians
of rights and customs. They judged those actions which conflicted with
their rights or customs. If people violated these basic rules of life,
it was believed that the gods would punish (or judge) either the
violators or their children. When the word was taken up in the
Septuagint Greek OT it took on a Hebrew flavor. In the OT it was Jehovah
God Who judged between right and wrong using His holy law handed down at
Sinai as the standard for judgment. The NT uses the noun and verb forms
referring to judgment about 150 times.
table below summarizing the major end time judgments it is clear
(maybe it's not that
clear to you initially but study the Scriptures and it will become quite
clear) that the present heavens and
earth will "flee
away", John writing...
And I saw a great white throne and
Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and
no place was found for them. (see note
Note that this chart is based upon a
interpretation of the
Scriptures, including acceptance of a future 7 year period corresponding
to the "70th Week of Daniel" ( Da 9:24, 25, 26, 27see notes
commonly referred to as the "Tribulation". Note that
Scripture never specifically designates this 7 year time period as the "tribulation".
Jesus however did indicate that the last three and one-half years of
this 7 year period would be a time of
(Mt 24:21). Note that this last 3.5 years also corresponds to the OT
reference by Jeremiah to the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer 30:7, cf Da
The Day of
Judgment is both
comforting and discomforting. It comforts those who know that God will
make all wrongs right. On the other hand the Day of Judgment
should be terribly discomforting to those who engage in wanton sins such
as Peter described in Chapter 2 and surely they must know that one day
they will pay for their dastardly deeds.
famous preacher Robert G. Lee once delivered what has come to be one of
the most famous sermons of the 20th Century entitled
Someday and in each of literally thousands of times he
preached this truth around the world, many turned to Christ.
are reading these notes and you do not know Christ as your personal
Savior and Lord, I would encourage you to read (or listen to) Dr. Lee's
sermon at the above link and then if you're still unconvinced to follow
that "appetizer" with Jonathan Edward's "entree" at the following link.
God used Jonathan Edward's to ignite revival in his church and
throughout New England with the famous sermon entitled
in the Hands of an Angry God.
would have this solemn sure (by His Word) truth about judgment cause all
saints to discipline themselves to live godly and holy lives until the
Lord shall come again. My brother, my sister, how are you doing?
END TIME JUDGMENTS
God's Plan for the Ages)
SEAT of CHRIST
"The Bema" Seat
- Only Believers appear here to be recompensed for their deeds in
the body whether good or bad
Scripture is not absolutely specific regarding the timing of this event so dogmatism is best avoided.
With that caveat, it appears that this event probably occurs
during the 7 year period preceding the millennial reign of Christ
during the time period best known by the popular term "The
Tribulation" (actually a misnomer as discussed above)
Ro 14:10, 11, 12
1Co 3:12,13,14,15 Rev 22:12
"SHEEP & GOATS"
Refers primarily to Gentiles -
Sheep ~ Believers who enter Messianic kingdom &
Goats ~ Unbelievers commanded to depart to the "eternal fire"
At the end of the 7
year period described above Christ returns as Conquering King (Rev
17:14, 19:11ff) and apparently at the inception of the
establishment of His Millennial kingdom.
Mt 25:31-46, 41
JUDGMENT & RESTORATION
"All" Israel will be saved
(Ro 11:26ff) which refers to "all" of the 1/3 who believe (Zec
13:8, 9) the "new" covenant (Jer 31:31)
The judgment appears
to coincide with the end of the last three & one-half year period
of Daniel's 70th week (Da 9:27), the time Jesus called "The Great
Tribulation" (Mt 24:21) & Jeremiah referred to as "time of Jacob's
distress" (Jer 30:7)
Zech 13:8, 9
Jer 31:31, 32, 33
WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
"final" judgment when all unbelievers (spiritually dead) will
stand before the throne & be judged according to their deeds (Rev
All whose names are not found written in the book of life will be
thrown into the lake of fire = the second death (Re 20:14, 15)
21 when interpreted
literally lay out a very logical chronology: The return of Christ
defeating the antichrist (Rev 19:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21),
Satan bound 1000 years (Rev 20:1, 2, 3), Christ & His saints reign
on earth during the 1000 years Satan is bound (Rev 20:4, 5, 6),
Satan leads & is defeated at the last rebellion at the end of the
Millennial reign (Rev 20:7, 8, 9, 10). "Earth & heaven fled away &
no place was found for them (Rev 20:11) corresponds to Peter's
description of the "present heavens & earth" being destroyed with
fire & is followed by the appearance of the New Heaven and Earth
(Rev 21:1) which implies the old order was removed between Re
20:10 and Re 21:1 - Peter fills in the details in 2Peter 3
explaining how the first heaven & earth "passed away"
Note that this chart is an overview and is not an exhaustive
compilation of relevant Scriptures
[word study] with 4/18 NT uses in
2 Peter derived from
apo = marker of
separation, away from + olethros = ruin, death but not
annihilation) refers to the state in this case of the ungodly in which
their life is "ruined" and is no longer usable for its original intended
ungodly are not annihilated and there
is no reprieve once the righteous Judge renders His perfect judgment. If
this tragic truth does not stir you deep within your innermost being to
share the good news with those around you, then perhaps you really don't
believe that it is literally true. The ungodly will experience the
judgment of God as a day of destruction, not an extinction of existence
or annihilation but an everlasting state of torment and death (physical
and spiritual). They will be delivered up to eternal misery, and suffer
the loss of everything that makes human existence worthwhile!
18x in 17v - Matt 7:13; 26:8; Mark 14:4; John 17:12; Acts 8:20; Rom
9:22; Phil 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess 2:3; 1 Tim 6:9; Heb 10:39; 2 Pet 2:1, 3;
3:7, 16; Rev 17:8, 11. NAS = destruction(13), destructive(1),
perdition(1), perish(1), waste(1), wasted(1)
"Inferno" he affixed the following inscription over the gates of
All hope abandon, ye who enter here" a fitting
summarization of the meaning of "destruction.
who probably was not a believer still had some fear of the Lord
Even in this age of inflation, the wages of sin remain the same.
(asebes from "a" = without or devoid of +
sébomai = to worship or to venerate which speaks of an attitude of
reverential respect and of honoring and admiring another profoundly and
respectfully) (See study of related word
asebeia) describes those who violate the "norm"
expected of one in a proper relation to God. They are destitute of
reverential awe towards God. Webster defines "ungodly"
as "denying or disobeying God".
Asebes - 9x in 9v- Rom 4:5; 5:6; 1 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 4:18; 2
Pet 2:5f; 3:7; Jude 1:4, 15. NAS = godless man(1), ungodly(6), ungodly
describes the person without reverence for God, not by merely being
irreligious, but by acting in contravention of God’s demands. Clearly "ungodly"
is an apt description of all who are unsaved.
man or woman is the one who has little or no time for God in their life.
They have deceived themselves into believing that they can rule God out
of their affairs and their thinking even though God is the greatest
Being in the universe, the One Who makes sense out of life, the One
around Whom all of life revolves and without Whom no creature could even
take a breath. To eliminate such a Glorious Being from one's thinking is
what it means to be ungodly.
means want or lack of reverence or piety toward God (which speaks of
one's heart attitude) and thus living without regard for God and in a
way that denies His existence and right as Supreme Ruler and Authority
(which speaks of one's actions emanating from one's attitude). Asebes
suggests a disregard of the existence of God, a refusal to retain Him in
knowledge and a habit of mind leads to open rebellion. It is a general
reference to all that is anti-God.
Jude writes that
the ungodly will infiltrate the true church of God, for even in
"certain persons have crept in
unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this
condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into
licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (Jude
one of Jude’s favorite words. While these men claimed to belong to God,
they were, in fact, ungodly in their thinking and their living. They
might have “a form of godliness,” but they lacked the force of godliness
that directs one's thinking and actions "Godward". It is a basic
principle, that doctrinal deviation often accompanies and often
justifies ethical and moral sin. Their lack of reverence for God was
demonstrated by the fact that they infiltrated the church of God to
corrupt it and gain riches from its people.
The Bible declares
that there is hope even for the ungodly
for while we were still helpless, at
the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (see Ro 5:6-note) and for the one who
"believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is
reckoned as righteousness" (Romans 4:5-note)
John MacArthur writes that the
lifestyle of the ungodly
is inevitably empty, vain, and void
of substance. The life of an unbeliever is bound up in thinking and
acting in an arena of ultimate trivia. He consumes himself in the
pursuit of goals that are purely selfish, in the accumulation of that
which is temporary, and in looking for satisfaction in that which is
intrinsically deceptive and disappointing. The unregenerate person plans
and resolves everything on the basis of his own thinking. He becomes his
own ultimate authority and he follows his own thinking to its ultimate
outcome of futility, aimlessness, and meaninglessness—to the
self–centered emptiness that characterizes our age...The second
characteristic of ungodly persons is ignorance of God’s truth.
Their thinking not only is futile but spiritually uninformed...Fallen
mankind has a built–in inability to know and comprehend the things of
God—the only things that ultimately are worth knowing...the ungodly
are unresponsive to truth (cf. Isa 44:18, 19, 20 1Th 4:5-note).
Just as a corpse cannot hear a conversation in the mortuary, the person
who is spiritually “dead in [his] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians
cannot hear or understand the things of God, no matter how loudly or
clearly they may be declared or evidenced in his presence...The
knowledge that the ungodly person hates is not practical, factual
knowledge. On the contrary, he prides himself in how much he knows.
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press
The attitude of the ungodly
man or woman "is nowhere more clearly exposed than in the popular
admonition to do one’s own thing. Man’s “own thing” is sin, which
characterizes his whole natural being. Self-will is the essence of all
sin. Although Satan was responsible for their being tempted to sin, it
was the voluntary placing of their own will-s above God’s that caused
Adam and Eve to commit the first sin." (MacArthur,
J: Romans 1-8. Moody)