2 Peter 3: 3-4, 8-9, 10
2 Peter 3: 3-4
3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days some people will appear whose lives are controlled by their own lusts. They will make fun of you 4 and will ask, “He promised to come, didn't he? Where is he? Our ancestors have already died, but everything is still the same as it was since the creation of the world!”
This is obviously about the return of Christ!
As a Christian I have personally encountered such dismissive scoffing from non-believers. This has been going on for a very long time and shows no end of ever stopping.
But someday, of course, they will go quiet!
2 Peter 3: 8-9
8 But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord's sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. 9 The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins.
Here Peter says that God is delaying the end of the world to give people an opportunity to come to Christ. He wants as many people to be saved as possible so is extending the period of time in which people have an opportunity to accept Christ.
He says the God feels no sense of urgency.
2 Peter 3: 10
10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish
"Like a thief" means that it will sneak up on us, completely unexpectedly
I think what this verse is saying is that Jesus Christ will destroy the world, just as he originally created it.
I believe the bible indicates that the universe was created ex-nihilo - out of nothing.
I believe that this verse indicates that it will disappear back into nothing, that it will simply cease to exist without transforming into anything else! Basically, it will be deleted!
Paraphrasing is a useful exercise to help you understand scripture.
People have always scoffed about it and always will, until he comes that is, at which point they will all shut up about it and be confounded. God will bring about the end of the Earth in his own time, not according to whether or not it is convenient to humankind. He wants to give people as long as possible to turn to Christ so is holding back from ending it all. But eventually, just as the universe was created out of nothing by Christ so too will it be destroyed, back into nothingness. By Jesus Christ himself.
What does this mean to Christians?
- Don't be disheartened by scoffers, some glorious day they will all be proved wrong and we'll get the last laugh
- We have had plenty of time to come to Christ but soon the opportunity to do so will be lost so we'd better start bringing folk to Christ!
- Perhaps Jesus will come once enough people have come to him?
- Just as Jesus created and sustained, so too will he destroy
- God is above and beyond our human concepts of time and causation