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AD70 Dispensationalism: According to that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'.    Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only when Herod's Temple in Jerusalem fell.    Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of Christianity as seen in the New Testament.

HYPER PRETERISM

"Full preterist" material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views, but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website.  The classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and the convictions of the website curator (a former full preterist pastor).  The HyP theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70 (end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written.  Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and fundamentally different.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"


DISTINCTLY FULLPRET POSITIONS IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • The Mosaic elements are not the symbol of the Old Heavens and Earth, they are exclusively one and the same.

  • AD70 is the Consummation of the Ages

  • The Apocalypse of John was entirely  fulfilled by AD70


Systematic Hyper Preterism
(aka "Full Preterism")



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Jesus: "It is finished" (AD30)
cf. Hebrews 10:19-22

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Hyper Preterism: Defining "Hyper Preterism"- Criticisms from the Inside - Criticisms from the Outside || Progressive Pret | Regressive Pret | Former Full Preterists | Pret Scholars | Normative Pret | Reformed Pret | Pret Idealism | Pret Universalism

William Bell
Max King
Don Preston
Larry Siegle
Kurt Simmons
Ed Stevens
 

SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED HYPER PRETERISM

It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view.   Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper Preterist system in order to endorse this view.   Following are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by adherents of Hyper Preterism.:

DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD FULL PRETERISM

  • All Bible Prophecy was Fulfilled By AD70

  • Atonement Incomplete at Cross ; Complete at AD70

  • The Supernatural Power of Evil Ended in AD70

  • The Spirit of Antichrist was Destroyed in AD70

  • "The Consummation of the Ages" Came in AD70

  • "The Millennium" is in the Past, From AD30 to AD70

  • Nothing to be Resurrected From in Post AD70 World ; Hades Destroyed

  • The Christian Age Began in AD70 ; Earth Will Never End

  • "The Day of the Lord" was Israel's Destruction ending in AD70

  • The "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ Took Place in AD70-ish

  • The Great Judgment took place in AD70 ; No Future Judgment

  • The Law, Death, Sin, Devil, Hades, etc. Utterly Defeated in AD70

  • "The Resurrection" of the Dead and Living is Past, Having Taken Place in AD70

  • The Context of the Entire Bible is Pre-AD70 ; Not Written To Post AD70 World

DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
(under construction)

  • Baptism was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Prayer was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Supper was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Holy Spirit's Paraclete Work Ceased in AD70 (Cessationism)

  • The Consummation in AD70 Caused Church Offices to Cease (Cessationism)

  • The Resurrection in AD70 Changed the "Constitutional Principle" of Marriage (Noyesism)

  • Israel and Humanity Delivered into Ultimate Liberty in AD70 (TransmillennialismTM)

  • The Judgment in AD70 Reconciled All of Mankind to God ; All Saved (Preterist Universalism)

  • Adam's Sin No Longer Imputed in Post AD70 World ; No Need to be Born Again (Preterist Universalism)

  • When Jesus Delivered the Kingdom to the Father in AD70, He Ceased Being The Intermediary (Pantelism/Comprehensive Grace?)

  • The Book of Genesis is an Apocalypse; is About Creation of First Covenant Man, not First Historical Man (Covenantal Preterism)

 

The New Heavens and Earth

By Jim Gunter
(5/26/2006)

 

In the Book of Isaiah, the Lord, by His Spirit and through the mouth of His prophet, called to account a monumental event that took place some 750 years earlier. It was that very special historical occasion when He chose Israel from all of the nations of the earth to be His own [Deut.7:6]. Not only did He take them for His own, but in addition, He created for them a world of their own; yea their very own “heavens and earth,” bringing them order out of chaos! Please notice what I mean by God’s creation of Israel’s world.

“But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people [Is. 51:15,16].”

My dear brethren, I don’t know how you understand this passage. It may be that you understand it as I once did. You see, I once would have considered those words about the “heavens and earth” to be speaking of the Genesis account of God’s creation of the universe and all that is therein. However, after spending considerably more time in the study of the Scriptures, I now believe that I was mistaken in my understanding of that passage. I now understand how very important it is that one keep in mind whom God was addressing. As we can readily see, He was addressing His covenant people, the old covenant Israelites. Please take careful notice of the three things that this passage teaches that God did for them at that time. Consider these things very carefully, dear friends, and I believe that you too, will see that God was speaking of the time when He created Israel’s heavens and earth. Here’s what I understand the passage to teach.

(1) By His Powerful hand, He divided the waters of the Red Sea and delivered the sons of Jacob out from their 400 years of Egyptian bondage and destroyed the Egyptians in the roaring waves of the sea.

(2) He put His Word in their mouths, i.e., He gave them His law through His servant Moses at Mt. Sinai, established His marriage covenant with them, and promised bountiful blessings for them if they obeyed His voice and kept His commandments. In doing that, He brought them order out of chaos.

(3) He covered them in the shadow of His hand, i.e., like a giant umbrella, He spread His loving watch-care over them, by way of miracles (manna from heaven, quail, and water) and His protective providential care during their 40 years of wilderness wanderings. Even after all that, they tried the Lord repeatedly, established a pattern of disobedience and unfaithfulness that followed them throughout their history. Only a remnant were faithful.

So, from the passage above, we learn that God, in doing the three things mentioned, did in fact “plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth” of Israel’s world, and thus declared to Zion, “You are my people.” This, dear friends, was the creation of Israel’s old covenant world or heavens and earth, which was also the beginning of the old covenant or, Mosaic age. I don’t think that we can over-emphasize the fact that it was all a matter of covenant.” Yes, beloved, the matter of the first or, Mosaic covenant becomes a most important factor when we later consider the matter of the new heavens and earth!” So, please do keep this in mind.

Because an extensive, detailed account of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Yahweh during the following centuries under that covenant does not fall within the scope of this particular study, we will only cite just a few of those things - such as the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam into two kingdoms - the Kingdom of Israel [the 10 northern tribes] and the kingdom of Judah [the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin]. Neither will we deal with God’s divorcing the “house of Israel because of her playing the harlot, and sending her into Assyrian captivity in 721 B.C. - the time when the kingdom of Israel ceased to be and the house of Israel was dispersed among the nations for many centuries [2 Kings 17:6-23; Jer. 3:6-8]. Nor will we deal with Judah’s more treacherous harlotry than that of her sister Israel [2 Kings 17:19; Jer. 23:8-11]. Please read the above verses for those accounts. All of those things are of great importance to us to be sure! However, in this study I would like for us to focus on the matter of Israel’s heaven and earth, about which Isaiah spoke in the Isa.51:15,16 passage and then the new heavens and earth of Is.65:17ff. Beloved, in light of those things taught in the Is.51:15,16 passage, I can understand much better what God said in the other passages.

(1) In Is.1:2, God, in the very beginning of Isaiah’s prophecy, addressed His people by saying, “Listen, O heaven and hear, O earth…”

(2) In Lev.26:19,20, where He warned them of terrible consequences should they disobey Him. He said, “And I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent uselessly, for your land shall not yield its produce and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.”

(3) In Deut.30:19, Yahweh said, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So, choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”

(4) In Deut.31:28, He said to Moses, “Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and earth to witness against them.”

(5) In Deut.32:1, He also said, “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.”

My dear brothers and sisters, surely, those are enough examples of our Father’s use of the phrase “heavens and earth” to assure us that they bear a special reference to, and significance of the world that God created for His people Israel! I just don’t see how there could be any mistake about that.

Now, in light of the things of Is.51:15,16, it is so very interesting to me that just a few chapters later [Is. 62:2], the voice of prophecy began to take on a bright, sparkling hue as Yahweh’s eternal purpose began to unfold, as He said this of His people, “You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.” And then, take note of what Yahweh said regarding the “heavens and earth.”

“For behold, I create a new ‘heavens and earth’; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy” [Is. 65:17,18].

Good folks, I’m aware that many brothers and sisters understand that to be a new physical creation of planet Earth. Please believe me when I say, “we will indeed address that idea later.” But, please let us never lose sight of the fact that all of those things are a matter of covenant. To be sure, the creation of a “new heavens and earth” was among those great and precious promises that Yahweh made to His people Israel!

In the closing chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy [chapters 60-66], among other things, we learn of God’s promise to bring redemption (or salvation) to His people. However, it’s also very interesting that there are so many passages that speak of that salvation or redemption as being brought through judgment [Isaiah chapters 24-27; chapters 43,44; Zech. chapters 5,12,13,14; Mal. 3:5 et. al.]. Then, centuries later, in the new covenant Scriptures, near the end of the life of the apostle Peter (circa 65-66 A.D.), he exhorted his fellow-disciples of the 1st century. Since they were looking and waiting for the coming of that wonderful and marvelous blessing, he urged them “…to be diligent to be found by Him (Christ) in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation…” [2 Pet. 3:14, 15].

My good brothers and sisters, I’m confident that all of us would agree with the premise of God’s bringing in of a new heavens and earth would, of necessity, first require the removal of the “old” one, which presently stood at the time that Peter wrote those words. In fact, Peter’s words said exactly that! Hear him. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works, will be burned up” [v-10]. And then, in v-12, we learn that those disciples were “looking for and hastening” that great and monumental day of God! Yes, beloved, notice that Peter said they were “eagerly awaiting” that day of God, when the “heavens and earth” would be destroyed. They were “eagerly awaiting” its destruction, because they knew that Yahweh had promised them a new” heavens and earth [v-13].

So, how can we know for certain what the “new heavens and earth” were, of which Peter spoke? It would seem to me that to best understand what would constitute the “new” heavens and earth, we would need to first determine what the removal of the “old” heavens and earth was and what it meant. For this determination, I believe it’s crucial that we keep the things in 2 Pet. 3 in their context and proper setting.

In that epistle, the apostle was writing for the second time to the Hebrew disciples “who resided as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithyniaas mentioned in his first epistle [I Pet. 1:1]. We know with certainty that those were the same disciples because he told them that it was his second letter to them [2 Pet. 3:1]. And, from v-2 we learn that he was writing that second letter as a reminder. Beloved, the very fact that Peter spoke of that as a reminder, tells us that those are things that they already knew. You don’t remind someone of something that they don’t already know. Do you? Furthermore, inherent in a reminder is the idea of urgency. And such was the case with those things that Peter was about to say. Now folks, I am persuaded that had you and I been among the 1st century recipients of such an admonition from an inspired apostle that we would not have discounted the words of Peter, but rather we would have placed upon them the seal of the highest priority, even more so since those were words that had been spoken first by the prophets and then by the Lord and Savior, and also by all of the apostles [v-2]. Yes, beloved, those must have been things of the utmost importance! Surely, you and I would not have reasoned, “Oh well, we don’t really need to be too concerned about these things; after all, they won’t happen for some twenty centuries in the future anyway!” No, we wouldn’t have reasoned that way, and I don’t believe that those disciples reasoned that way either. After all, those words had to do with the “coming” (parousia) of their Lord and Savior [v-4]. So then, let us now examine those things by which Peter was going to “…stir up their sincere minds by way of reminder.”

To the Hebrew brethren of 2Pet.3:1, Peter began in v-4 by asserting first, that in the last days, mockers would come, taunting both those disciples and even the Lord Himself, regarding His promised coming or “parousia” [vs-3,4]. Before getting into the specifics of Peter’s warning to those brethren, I see the need of establishing the time-frame for the fulfillment of those things of which Peter warned them. Now I truly realize that many believers today understand (as did I) the fulfillment of this prophecy to be yet in our future, and mainly because of their concept of “the last days.” Folks, here’s all I would like to say about the last days.

(1) Joel, in his prophecy of Joel 2:28-32, clearly predicted both “the coming of Messiah and the gospel” and “the fall of Jerusalem” to come to pass in the same time-frame. Here’s that prophecy:

“And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and even on the male and female servants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”

Do you see how Joel did in fact include both events in the same time-frame? And not only did Joel do that, but on the Day of Pentecost when Peter stood up with the other apostles, he declared to the mass of Jews that were assembled before him, This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” and proceeded to quote that very prophecy, and then, clearly and definitively, assigned the term “the last days” to the fulfillment of both of those marvelous events [Acts 2:17]. But please, beloved, I beg of you; don’t take my word for that; please do read it for yourselves!

(2) We also learn from Heb.1:1,2, that the Hebrew scribe, in about 65-67 A.D., included “the time in which he is writing his epistle” and “the time in which the Lord Jesus had spoken personally to His believers” in the same time-frame. Yes, the same time-frame that He called “these last days” - specifically, the “last days” of the old covenant or Mosaic age. Yes, it was the last days of the age that was about to “disappear.” And, that’s exactly what he said in 8:13: “When He said, ’A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old, is ready to disappear.” Dear fellow-believers, as you can see, those things were written at least 35 years after the cross and Pentecost. Clearly, then, the old covenant age did not end at the cross, as I once thought; and neither did it end at Pentecost.

(3) That same writer said, “…but now once at the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” [Heb. 9:26].

(4) Then Peter himself, speaking of the completed and perfected salvation, for which they (1st century disciples) were eagerly awaiting, said that they were, “…protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [1Pet.1:5]

(5) Finally, and not long thereafter, the apostle John, because of the arising of many antichrists at the time in which he wrote, declared in 1Jn.2:18, that it was then evident that they were, at that time, not only just in the “last days,” but were even in the “last hour!”

Therefore, my brethren, it is passages such as those, that explain for me the urgency in Peter’s words in 2Pet.3, for those disciples to be prepared for the mockers that were coming in those “last days.” Then there’s Jude, writing shortly after Peter, in that same period that he also called “the last time” [v-18], confirmed the coming of those mockers. When I read that little one-chapter book of Jude, I can almost hear Jude saying, “Brethren, do you remember those mockers about whom Peter and the other apostles warned us that they were coming in the last days or, time? Well, they’re here. They have arrived!

So, with those things in mind, let us now proceed in v-4 with Peter’s warning of the mockers. From that verse, I understand those mockers to be from among the unbelieving Jews and Judaizers of Peter’s day. I get this sense because they said, “for since the days of the fathers,” whom I understand to be the “fathers of ancient Israel.”

For me, another thing that becomes evident at this point, is that the disciples of Peter’s day also believed in an imminent coming or, parousia of Christ. Just look at what the mocking was: “Where is the promise of His coming?” Now, if the 1st century disciples of Jesus were not expecting an imminent return of the Master, then someone please explain to me why those men were mocking after that fashion. I don’t see any other explanation that would fit, than the fact that they were expecting Him soon! “And just where would they have gotten such an idea?” you ask. Well, I believe that one source would have been from things that very same apostle had written in his first epistle to them, especially since this second epistle is a reminder of those things. So then, let us look at some of the things that Peter had written in that first letter.

(1) First, he said in 1Pet.1:4-6 that, in Christ, they were to “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” Beloved, don’t you find it quite interesting that the trials and sufferings of those disciples would only be for a little while, at the end of which, Peter declared they would then receive their promised inheritance? Isn’t that just remarkable? Do you see the imminency here? My dear friends, I really don’t see any way that language such as this allows for a time-gap of some 20 centuries or more before Jesus’ coming!

(2) Another thing in Peter’s first letter that would have intimated an imminent coming of their Master is found in 1Pet.4:5. Speaking of those who were then rejecting the Messiah and living wickedly, he said, “But they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” Just imagine this: If Jesus was not going to come for another 2,000 years or more, then why would Peter say that He was “ready to judge the living and the dead?” Wouldn’t that have been terribly misleading to those disciples to whom he was writing?

(3) In v-7 of that same chapter, I think we can understand why Jesus, at that present time, would have been “ready to judge the living and the dead.” He would have been “ready” because as Peter said, The end of all things is (was) as handat the time in which Peter wrote that letter. That, of course. comports perfectly with the words of the Hebrew scribe in Heb.10:37, where he proclaimed, “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming, will come, and will not delay.”

(4) Also, I believe that Jesus would have been “ready to judge” because Peter said again in v-17 that“… the time is come for the judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

(5) Another reason, I believe, for those disciples to have an expectancy of an “imminent” coming of their Lord, would be that they had heard or read of Jesus’ own words to His disciples when He had declared that at “His coming” some of the ones to whom he was personally speaking, would still be living [Mat. 16:27,28] That would certainly have caused an expectation of an imminent return! But please; you judge for yourself whether or not you see cause for an expectation of an “imminent,” 1st century return.

Let us return now to the “mocking” of 2Pet.3. It’s in v-5 where Peter began his scathing rebuttal of the mockers’ wicked arrogance! As we would say in our 21st century parlance, “Peter is about to show these men that they are only showing their ignorance; yea even willing” ignorance!” Peter said that those men knew very well what happened in the days of Noah, how the Lord promised that He would bring the great flood and destroy the heavens and earth of that day. And they also knew quite well that God kept His promise and destroyed that heavens and earth with water. However, they were willing to simply cast aside that knowledge and ignore it, as they made mockery of Jesus’ promise to come and destroy the then present heavens and earth,” which was “reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment of ungodly men” [v-7].

This brings us to v-8, which has been seized upon by many brethren in an effort to establish a perceived formula for reckoning how God calculated time in the fulfillment of His prophecies. But I really don’t believe that this is the message that was being conveyed here at all. Let’s see what Peter did tell those brethren in this verse.

“But, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

I feel that it’s truly unfortunate that such an interpretation as mentioned above, has been ascribed to this verse. It seems to me that if we would simply apply the principle of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, that we will be well served in determining what Peter meant by those words. I’m reminded of a passage in the Psalms that is very similar in construction to the above. The Psalmist said:

“Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. Thou dost turn man back into dust, and dost say, ‘Return, O children of men.’ For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.” [Psa. 90:2-4].

Good folks, it seems to me that one of the lessons that we are to learn from both of those passages is the simple fact that the passing of time or years, in no way effects God’s keeping of His promises. And, as we can see from v-4, regarding those mockers, “the passing of time” since Jesus first made His promise of an imminent return, is the very basis for their argument that He was not going to come! And so, Peter wanted to assure those brethren to not fall prey to the words and claims of those evil men, because their Master was indeed “coming.” They could count on it! But as for the reason that He had not yet come, this is found in the following verse [v-9]. Peter said,

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward YOU; not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Now we can see why Jesus had not already come. It was because of His patience. He wanted to bring as many as possible to repentance, and turn to Him as their Messiah and Savior!

As we continue in our study, we come now to the portion of 2Pet.3 that seems to be the area in which there is the most controversy. This, of course, would be that to which we alluded earlier, viz., the removal or dissolution of the old “heavens and earth,” which was to be replaced by the new “heavens and earth.” [vs-10-13]. Some of those who approach the Scripture from a “futurist” perspective, as I once did, see this as the literal “end of the physical universe” as we know it. Those of us who approach the Scriptures from the perspective of “fulfilled, covenantal eschatology,” see it as the time when God brought to fulfillment His old covenant with Israel, which He made with them at Mt. Sinai. It was the end of the same age of which Jesus’ apostles asked Him in Mt.24:3. And, as already stated, that would open the way for that newspiritualheavens and earth or fully perfected and glorious Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, “wherein dwells righteousness” [2 Pet. 3:13]. Yes, beloved, it was the time when the old temporal world and covenant, which the Lord had created for ancient Israel, was to disappear as the writer of Hebrews said in Heb.8:13, for in the verses immediately preceding, he had quoted the prophet Jeremiah who had said, “I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts…for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” [vs-8,9,10, 12]. No, this “new” covenant was not to be like the covenant that Yahweh made with their fathers at Sinai. We understand it to be a covenant of the heart, and of the very Spirit of God; a “spiritual” covenant, which, through grace and mercy, provided forgiveness of sins freely through faith in God‘s Son and His precious blood. We will have more to say on this later.

Before this new heavens and earth with its new covenant could become a reality, Peter showed them that the old one had to be removed first. And thus Peter said in v-10:

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hasting the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

Beloved, while viewing that passage from my former “futurist” perspective, I was convinced that the horrific, catastrophic language above was indeed descriptive of a time in our future when there would be the destruction and dissolution of the universe in which we live. In my mind was a picture of the complete and total disintegration of the material fabric of our planet. And, since I had studied two years of chemistry in my early school days, it further strengthened my view every time that I would read Peter’s two references to the word “elements” in this passage. For those unfamiliar with the world of chemistry, the word “elements” is used when speaking of the things which comprise the physical makeup of everything on our planet, including its atmosphere and its seas. There are perhaps 110 or more known elements at this time. All of these elements are named, such as: iron, gold, silver, magnesium, lead, copper, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen etc., and assigned an “atomic number” and arranged on what is called the “the Atomic or, Periodic Table.” So, when Peter talked about “the elements melting with intense heat,” one understandably visualizes the literal melting of all these elements, along with at least a hundred more that make up the material fabric of our planet! But, dear friends, is this really what Peter had reference to in his use of the term “elements?” Is he actually describing such a literal, physical destruction? Well, that’s what I would like for you to examine with me for a moment.

Under Strong’s No. 4747, he spoke of this word “element” as it is found in the Greek text. It is from the Greek word stoiceion, which Mr. Strong renders: “lit. elemental, principle, rudiment.” Beloved, with the use of a simple Bible concordance, we learn that this Greek word “stoicheion” is used, with the exception of here in 2 Pet. 3, only 5 other times in the “new covenant Scriptures.” Here are the other 5 examples of its usage.

(1) “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles [stoicheion] of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” [Heb. 5:12]

I believe it’s pretty clear here that the use of “stoicheion” in this passage has reference to the “elementary principles” of the old covenant law. It seems that those disciples showed a deficiency in their spiritual development under the gospel. In other words, their spiritual growth was not commensurate with the length of time that they had been Christians. As the writer said, they should by then have been teachers of others. However, they were like newborn babes themselves who needed to be taught again the “elementary principles” of the old covenant law. And just what do you suppose would have been the cause of this? Well, I can only state what I believe to have been at the root of their lack of spiritual growth. The Hebrew scribe stated in several places that from the construction of the tabernacle and its furniture, to the work of the priests and the sacrifices, and all of those physical things of the old covenant, they served as types and shadows of “spiritual” realities that were greater than themselves [See 8:5; 9:23,24; 10:1 et. al.]. And so, those disciples had failed to grasp the marvelous spiritual realities that were veiled in those types and shadows of the old covenant oracles. Therefore, as the newborn needed milk as opposed to strong meat, those disciples were not able to comprehend the deeper truths of the gospel for themselves, much less being able to teach them to someone else, hence, the writer’s criticism and admonition.

(2) “So, also while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental [stoicheion] things of the world [Gal. 4:3].

(3) “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental [stoicheion] things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again. You observe days and months and seasons and years,” [Gal. 4:9,10].

As we see here, in Paul’s letter to the disciples in the province of Galatia, he especially addressed the Hebrew disciples among them in that passage. Now, why do I say that? Well, I believe the answer is found in v-10. Just look at that verse in light of the “weak and worthless (beggarly) elements” that Paul spoke of in v-9, and then ask yourself: “In what world or system did the keeping of certain days, months, years, and seasons play an integral part?” Obviously, it was the old covenant world of the sons of Jacob/Israel. And so, here Paul addressed those Hebrew Christians in the region of Galatia, who were being enticed by the Judaizers and unbelieving Jews (apparently with some degree of success) to abandon God’s gracious gift of salvation by grace through “faith in His Son,” and go back under the slavery and condemnation of “the old covenant law” with its (stoicheion) “elementary principles” or “ordinances and ceremonial rituals,” all of which were designed for the purpose of magnifying their sin in their own eyes. Thus, its ultimate purpose was to cause them to realize their need of a Savior, which in turn would lead (drive) them “to Christ” that they might be justified by faith! Yes, the central purpose of the law, as Paul said, was to make sin appear exceedingly sinful” [Rom.7:13].

(4) “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles (stoicheion) of the world, rather than according to Christ Therefore, let no one act as your judge in regard to food or, drink, or in respect to a festival of a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” [Col. 2:8,16,17].

(5) “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles (stoicheion) of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees such as, ’Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch’ [Col. 2:20,21].

Beloved, here again we see in those three passages, exactly the same things are involved as in the Galatian passages. Here, they are even more conspicuous. Again, I will ask you, dear brethren: “What world was it, in which the keeping of Sabbath days, or new moon festivals or, don’t drink this or, don’t eat that, played a major role?” Of course, to ask the question is also to answer it! It was the same world of the Mosaic economy. Wasn’t it? But, as you can plainly see, the inspired apostle Paul used this Greek word “stoicheion” to convey a message of “elementary or rudimentary principles” of the old covenant world and law.

So, my dear friends, you will have to make up your own mind in this matter. However, we can clearly see how this word “stoicheion” that Peter used, was also used by Paul in all of those other five examples in the “new covenant Scriptures.” And in every case, without exception, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the chemical elements that make up the material fabric of our planet and its atmosphere. Therefore, for this reason, I want to be careful as I consider its meaning in our focus passage of 2Pet.3:10-13. However, I would like to add at this point, one additional piece of evidence regarding why I have reached the conclusion that I have. I think this is really big! So, would you please stay with me here, don’t go and change the channel on me. Alright? As we have noted in all of the cases where Paul and the Hebrew scribe wrote to all of those brethren, using the Greek word “stoicheion,” (elements), they both used it to describe “the world of old covenant Israel with its laws and ordinances.” So, now, in light of that fact, let us turn back to 2Pet.3, where Peter used this word “stoicheion” or “elements.” Now look at v-14-16. Do you see what I see? Peter, speaking of the great apostle Paul on this very matter of “elements” or “stoicheion,” said this:

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, and spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand…”

Peter said very clearly in that passage that the same “these things” about which he was writing to those disciples, Paul also had written about them to those same disciples [v-15]. Did you see that? Therefore, it’s an indisputable fact that whatever the meaning of the term “elements” is, Peter and Paul are in total agreement regarding the “melting of the elements.” As well they should be, for they are both speaking by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. And, we all know that God is not the author of confusion [1 Cor. 14:33]. We have already seen how Paul used the term “elements” (stoicheion); that he used it with not even with the slightest hint of the physical, material fabric of the universe or our planet. So, the question I would have is: “If Paul’s use of the term, “the elements,” is crystal clear, and if Peter and Paul are in total agreement about the term, shouldn’t this explain for us what Peter meant by his use of it?” Paul obviously used the term in a “spiritual” sense. So, when we read what Peter had to say about it, shouldn’t we also make the same “spiritual” application that Paul made of it, and not change it by substituting a “literal, physical” application for the “spiritual?” Beloved, I’m persuaded that when Peter used the term “elements,” I must understand it in the same way as Paul used it. One of the cardinal rules of proper Bible hermeneutics in a case such as this, is that the clear passage should explain the obscure passage, and not the other way around.

Another argument made by those who see a physical destruction of our planet here in v-10-13 is that Peter’s point here, is that this destruction was going to be just like the former destruction in the days of Noah’s flood, which Peter references in v-5-6; the only difference being, that this destruction would be by fire as opposed to water [v-7]. Certainly at first blush, this argument sounds quite plausible. However, if you would be so kind, I would like for us to consider a couple of things:

(1) Peter’s words are very clear that God, by a flood, did destroy the world in the days of Noah [v-6]. There’s certainly no disagreement about that.

(2) Peter spoke of that old world of Noah’s day as a “heavens and earth” and he contrasts it with the “heavens and earth” of His own day [vs 5-7).

So, my dear brethren, in light of the above facts, just what, then, was the world that God destroyed in Noah‘s day? Could we say that God, in bringing the great deluge, destroyed the physical makeup or, fabric of the “heavens and earth? Well, obviously not, because it’s still with us even today! Good folks, wouldn’t we have to say, that when Peter said that God destroyed the world with the flood in Noah’s day, that he was speaking of “its inhabitants and civil order,” not the physical world or literal heavens and earth? It just seems to me that Peter’s use of such language lends itself to our getting a better understanding of the destruction of the heavens and earth of Peter’s own day, i.e., “the last days” period of the old covenant age! To me, this seems totally consistent with Scripture, especially in light of the meaning of the Greek word for “elements” (stoicheion) of vs.10,12. For all of the above reasons, I understand the destruction of heavens and earth of Peter’s day to be the complete fulfillment and removal of the old covenant world (heavens and earth) of Israel - the end of the old covenant law and age. Certainly, with the removal of the city, the temple, the priesthood and the nation, that was indeed accomplished.

With this thought in mind, please consider Jesus’ words of Mt.5:17,18, and look at the connection with Peter’s words. In that passage, Jesus said,

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”

My dear friends, I just can’t see but one way to interpret those words of the Lord, and that is: If “heaven and earth” have not yet “passed away,” then that old covenant, the law of Moses, is still in effect today! I just don’t see any other possible way to understand that passage. Therefore, if we take the position that the law of Moses has indeed been fulfilled and removed, which we all do, then it would naturally follow that “heaven and earth,” whatever they were, have also “passed away.” Beloved, if this is not the case, then Jesus’ words here have no meaning at all, but are contradictory in themselves! But, if “heaven and earth” have passed away, then of what “heavens and earth” were Jesus and Peter speaking? We certainly know that they were not speaking of two different physical “heavens and earth!” O my fellow believers, doesn’t it seem consistent with Scripture, that both Peter and Jesus would have been speaking of Israel’s heaven and earth” that Yahweh created for them back at Sinai? And now He was about to remove that old world. I believe that would come to pass in just three or four years after Peter wrote those words - it would come to pass at the promised “coming” of the lord Jesus Christ. And, yes, it would indeed be a “coming” with the fire that Peter alluded to, the coming when Jesus, through His instrument of judgment (the Romans) would burn the city of Jerusalem and the temple with its typical “holy of holies.” They would all be burned and razed to the ground. But my dear brethren, I really believe that we make a mistake when we conclude that this “coming with fire” is something that would not come for over 20 centuries after Peter‘s declaration. You see, this is the same burning of which the prophet Malachi spoke in Mal.3:1,2,5; Mal.4:1 Yes, friends, it’s the same burning of which John the baptist spoke in Mt.3:10,11. And, it’s the same burning of which the Master spoke in His parable of the wedding feast for the King’s son in Mt.22:1-14, depicting the King burning the city [v-7] of those wicked men who mistreated and even killed His slaves. It’s the same burning of which He spoke in His parable of the “burning of the tares” at the end-of-the-age harvest [Mt. 13:24-30; Mt. 13:36-43]. Yes, beloved, it’s that same burning of which Paul spoke in 2Thes.1:5-9 which would be brought to bear upon those wicked, unbelieving Jews who were persecuting those Thessalonian brethren so severely [1 Thes. 2:14-16]. He also so declared to the Corinthians in 1Cor.7:31, “…for the form of this world is passing away.”

Having dealt quite extensively with the destruction of the old heavens and earth that was declared by Peter, I’m sure that you have concluded that my understanding of that destruction is not that of a dissolution of the physical makeup of our universe and planet, but rather the removal of that old Mosaic covenant world (heavens and earth). And this, I believe, culminated with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The destruction of those things was the “physical evidence” of Christ’s promised “parousia,” which means “presence, coming or, arrival.” The Master made that promise to His apostles when they asked Him questions [ Mat.24:3] regarding His coming in destruction of the temple that He had prophesied in v-1. Their response was: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming, and the end of the age[v-3b]. Later in the chapter, He told them that all those things would come to pass “in that then-present generation[v-34].

Let us now turn our attention to that for which we began this study, viz., “God’s creation of the new Heavens and Earth.” In our 2Pet.3 text, this is the very next point that Peter addressed. He said in v-13-15:

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot, and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”

Let us not overlook all of the marvelous gems of truth scattered throughout those three little verses! First of all, Peter’s language made it ever so clear that when God would create this new heavens and earth, it would not be merely because He had destroyed the old one! Oh no, brethren, it would be so because of Divine plan. It was because of His “promise[v-13]. And there’s something else that we must not overlook, and that is the “imminency” of that new creation. Peter’s use of the personal pronoun “we” in v-13 indicated that he understood and expected that “promise” to come to fruition during that then-present generation - the generation of his and his 1st century Israelite reading audience. As he also stated in v-12, they were not only “looking for” the new heavens and earth, but they were “eager” for the Lord to “hasten” the coming of the “day of His judgment” because they understood that it would precipitate that marvelous creation.

Another beautiful truth that was expressed here is that Peter, as he had done in v-9, reminded them once again of the patience or long-suffering of God. Yes, beloved, He wanted as many of His old covenant people, as would, to come to repentance, so that the salvation, of which Peter spoke, would be theirs [vs-9,15]. Notice how perfectly that comported with what he had said in his first epistle. He said in 1Pet.1:5, to those who had already repented and accepted their Messiah, that they were, “…protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” My dear fellow believers, for the life of me, I just cannot understand how I could possibly have once stretched Peter’s remarks here to a colossal time-frame of more than two thousand years and counting! And especially, when he declared two verses later that the end of all things is at hand…” [1 Pet. 4:7]!

We noted earlier that the “creation of the new heavens and earth” was a “promise of God.” We first read of that promise in the prophecy made by Isaiah in Is.65:17ff. When comparing that prophecy with those words of Peter, I think that one thing becomes crystal clear; that the “new heavens and earth” of which Isaiah prophesied, and the “new heavens and earth” that the 1st century Christians were awaiting, were one and the same. Folks, I sincerely believe that when one makes that connection, then much of the confusion surrounding this subject suddenly disappears. Here’s what I mean by that. A number of brethren believe as I once did, i.e., that Peter’s words of 2Pet.3:10-13 depicted a yet future destruction of the physical universe, at which time there will be the resurrection of the dead, then the judgment, with this “new heavens and earth” being the heavenly home for the believer. However, if one closely examines God’s words in Is.65:17ff, one will learn that there are a number of things of which Isaiah spoke, that are not found in the ”ethereal or, heavenly realm.” For example:

(1) In v-20 he said, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days etc.” That, of course, could not be speaking of “life in heaven” for the believer, since there is no death in heaven.

(2) In v-21, he said, “And they shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” Obviously, there will be no need for the building of houses in heaven. Nor will a “spiritual” body have need of the “physical” nourishment by the eating of fruits! Paul said in 1Cor.15:50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”

(3) In v-22, he said, “For as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of my people.” Again, we all know that in heaven, life is not going to come to an end, for all of those who heard Jesus and believed in the One who sent Him, have eternal life[Jn. 5:24; 1 Jn. 5:13].

(4) In v-23, he said, “They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for trouble….” It is well known that in heaven, one will have rested from one’s labors, as did those martyrs of Rev.14:13. Also, there is no bearing of children in heaven since heaven is totally void of “flesh and blood.”

(5) In v-24,25 he said, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain, says the Lord.”

O what a marvelous and beautiful declaration by our heavenly Father! But do we really get the intended message here? It seems that many of God’s people understand those statements as the previous four examples, i.e., they understand them as being “literal, physical” occurrences. And so, they believe that at that time we will also “literally” see a lion grazing on straw like the ox, as well as wolves and sheep grazing together. But my dear friends, based on the same logic and Scriptures as in the previous four examples, that is not what I see in that prophecy at all!

First, we see images of “extreme” contrast here. To even picture a wolf eating grass in the field is beyond comprehension. Then, add to that, the wolf sharing a meal with a lamb, which would normally be his (the wolf’s) meal! Beloved, I am fully persuaded that our Father’s purpose in this imagery, was to show the creation of the “new heavens and earth,” i.e., His fully consummated kingdom, would be a refuge of “peace.” And it would be one, “in which righteousness dwells.” You will notice in v-25 of that prophecy that God also said His holy mountain is there! That, of course, is “the heavenly Jerusalem or Zion.” Remember what He said in Is.2:2ff:

“Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord, will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Beloved, that is nothing less than the gospel of peace flowing out during “the last days” of the old covenant age, as the glorious kingdom of the lord Jesus Christ was being perfected. It’s so obvious that this is not a description of “heaven” itself, but rather the glorious kingdom of the lord Jesus Christ. It was also that same period in which Ezekiel’s prophecy of the “two sticks” (the stick of Joseph, symbolic of the “house of Israel” and the stick of Judah, symbolic of the “house of Judah”) would be fulfilled, bringing the remnants of both houses, the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah” back together as one, under one king, and one shepherd - God’s servant David, i.e., the lord Jesus Christ, the son of David [Ezek. 37:16-28]. Notice in v-26-28:

“And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”

What a wise God we serve, brethren. Have you thought about the fact that this “everlasting covenant” is the same covenant of which the Hebrew writer spoke earlier in Heb.8:8-13? He said, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” Yes, folks, that is the same covenant that the writer said would be replacing the one that was becoming obsolete, and growing old, and was ready to vanish away[v-13]. For this reason, I believe that the verse teaches none other than the “new covenant of the lord Jesus Christ,” which He established in the 1st century, with the remnants of both the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah,” under the gospel of the kingdom of the messiah - the covenant that encompassed not only the “spiritual” sons of Jacob, but all of the “spiritual” children of Abraham, which, of course, would include those from every nation on earth. [See Rom.9:6-8; Gen.12:3]. But, I see no connection here at all with what we see today in the “physical” state of Israel. The kingdom of the lord Jesus Christ is not a physical Kingdom, but a “spiritual” kingdom, and known as the Israel of God,” which consists of spiritual children from all nations [Gal. 6:16].

Now back to 2Pet.3. In light of all of the above, and also in light of the fact that Peter and the 1st century disciples were “looking for and hastening” that “coming of the day of God,” wouldn’t you agree with me that the “creation of the new heavens and earth” must be indicative of something other than a new physical planet earth and physical heavens above? Another thing that I believe we would also agree on, is that we can rely on the Scriptures to be their own best interpreter. And as such, they can sort this out for us. So let’s put the burden on them to do just that.

The next and last place where we find the “new heavens and earth” mentioned in the Scriptures is found in the epistle that is avoided by so many of God’s people ---“The Apocalypse” or “Book of Revelation.” This writer must confess to you that in years passed, I, too, spent very little time there, and that is because, from the perspective that I then approached the book, there was much confusion and thus it made comprehension of it a very difficult thing. Needless to say, I have heard so many other believers express the same sentiments. Even though I’m not so foolish as to claim any scholarship on this book, or any other for that matter, I do feel that I’m beginning to learn. And I think there’s no better teacher to enlighten us than the one who penned it - the beloved apostle John. So, let’s you and I allow John to take the lead here and see if he can help us get a better understanding of not only the nature, but also the time-frame of the “new heavens and earth” of which both Isaiah and Peter spoke. After all, God afforded John the unique privilege of looking into the future and therefore spoke of its fulfillment.

First of all, I believe there’s understanding to be gained by establishing the time-frame in which John wrote the Apocalypse. I once thought, as do many other believers, that it was written in about 92-96 A.D.. However, my view of that has changed in recent years, as it has for many other believers over the years. Because there are so many, I will not mention them by name, but I will say that many of them are renowned Bible Scholars. I am just amazed at the number of disciples whom I encounter, personally, and also those of whom I have read and with whom I have studied, who have also changed their thinking as to when this epistle was penned. Most of these believe it to have been written about 67-69 A.D., which places its writing at a time just prior to “the fall of Jerusalem.” I believe this to be for good reason. It seems to me, from the internal evidence, that this is the case. For example, in Rev. 11:1, 2, John was instructed by the angel to “measure the temple of God.” However, if the time in which John wrote was the later date (92-96 A.D.), then the temple would not still have been standing. Neither would the city of Jerusalem itself have still been standing. And also, if John wrote that book in 92-96 A.D., which was after the fall of Jerusalem, how could it be that there would have been no mention of its already having been destroyed? In fact, if any of the epistles, gospels, or Acts, had been written after 70 A.D., how could it possibly be that no mention would have been made of perhaps the most monumental and historic event as the fall of Jerusalem, with the destruction of the temple, burning of the city, the slaughter of more than a million Jews, and the enslavement of almost another million? I must say, dear friends, that personally, I just simply cannot comprehend the likely-hood of such a thing.

Then, other internal evidence of an earlier date of 67-69 A.D., would be the words of both John and the angel that was sent by the Lord. For example:

(1) In Rev.1:1, John made it very clear that the things that the Lord showed him were “things which must shortly take place.”

(2) In Rev.1:3, John further spoke of the blessings to come to those 1st century disciples to whom he prophesied. They were to “keep those things which were written” in that prophecy because, as he said, “for the time is near.”

(3) In Rev.1:9, John declared to those 1st century disciples that he was their brother and companion in the tribulation.” According to history, that “great tribulation” began in the spring of A.D. 67, and of course culminated with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple in the summer of 70 A.D. (a period of 3-1/2 years---a time, times, and half a time---42 months---1,260 days).

(4) In Rev.22:7, Jesus said “Behold, I am coming quickly.”

(5) In Rev.22:10 John was told by the angel, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”

(6) In Rev.22:12 Jesus told those disciples in the 1st century, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” It’s also very interesting that He told His apostles this same thing in Mt.16:27,28, and He even said that His “coming” would be during the lifetime of some of those to whom He was speaking. He said, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

(7) In Rev.22:20, again, Jesus said to them, “…Surely, I come quickly.”

With all of those bits of internal evidence, I am persuaded that the prophecies in this marvelous epistle were penned before 70 A.D., and their fulfillments culminated with the fall of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., because I see this as the destruction of the old heavens and earth. Yes, it was at that time that the old covenant world, with the temple as its epicenter, the earthly priesthood, and the typical holy of holies, was destroyed and removed. And because of this, it was then time for the creation of the “new heavens and earth.” However, I would not want you to take my word for that Let’s see if the apostle John agreed with it. In Rev.21:1-5, John saw a most beautiful sight:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away. Also there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these things are faithful and true.”

We can only imagine how very excited John must have been, that he was afforded the privilege of seeing that of which the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Peter could only speak. You may recall Peter’s words of 2 Pet.3, where he spoke of the soon-coming “day of the Lord” [v-10] or, “day of God” [v-12], when the old heavens and earth” were destroyed and removed, and the new heavens and earth” were created. Well, according to John’s words in Rev.1:10, he was allowed to actually see that marvelous transformation, for he said that he was “in the Spirit, on the Lord‘s day.” I once understood John to be ascribing “the Lord’s day” to “the first day of the week.” But, upon careful consideration of the context, that interpretation seems absolutely meaningless. No, I believe that John was telling his 1st century believing readers that God had allowed John, in the spirit, to “see” that great day of the Lord, where he was an eye-witness to all of the marvelous things that were about to come to pass. And near the end of all the many visions that he was shown, he finally saw, as the old heavens and earth were removed, the new heavens and earth that were created by our Father.

Beloved, there are several observations that need mentioning here. First of all, John was shown the capital city of the new heavens and earth, and he said in v-2 that it was new Jerusalem.” Now take careful notice of the source of this new Jerusalem. He said with unmistakable clarity, that he saw it “coming down out of Heaven from God.” My dear friends, I understand that to be of great significance! For, if John saw the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven to occupy its rightful place in the new heavens and earth, then what does that tell us about the location of the “new heavens and earth?” Wouldn’t we, of necessity, conclude that it was on planet Earth?

But someone may object, saying, “Yes, but John also said that there was no longer any sea.’” Well, I believe there’s a reasonable explanation for that. In the “old covenant Scriptures,” there are many examples of the Lord’s use of the term “sea” to describe “the nations or gentiles.” For example, in Is.60:1-5, God was prophesying concerning the conversion of the gentiles under the gospel and kingdom of the messiah. And in v-5, He said, “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; the forces of the gentiles shall come unto thee.” But in the event someone should say, “Yes, but in John’s vision, he said that there was no longer any sea; so, wouldn’t that preclude the gentiles from any place in the new heavens and earth?” Why, absolutely not, for under the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” [Gal. 3:28]. Yes, beloved, in the new heavens and earth, Yahweh’s people would not be known by their pedigree, socio-political status or gender, but rather by their “spiritual” standing of being “in Christ” [Gal. 3:26,27]. They would be known only by their “new name.” [See Is. 62:2; 65:15].

My dear friends, there are some very interesting things regarding “the new Jerusalem” of which John speaks. And I believe that if we would look at some of the things that other inspired writers had to say about it, it will give us additional insight into both the “new Jerusalem” and the “new heavens and earth.”

In Gal.4:21ff, the apostle Paul argued against those disciples who were being tempted by the unbelieving Jews to go back under the old covenant law. So, as you read this, please take careful notice of Paul’s contrast of the “spiritual” to the “physical!” He said:

“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking; for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above (the new Jerusalem) is free; she is our mother.” [v-21-26]

Let’s stop here momentarily and take note of a few things. It’s clear from that allegory of Paul, that there were two “sons,” two “covenants,” and two “Jerusalems” represented by the two women, Sarah and Hagar (and their sons). As they stand in juxtaposition to one another, we see on one side, “Hagar,” representing “the old covenant,” “children of the flesh,” and “the then-present physical Jerusalem.” And on the other side, we see “Sarah” representing “the new covenant,” “children of the promise (spiritual children),” and “the Jerusalem above (heavenly or, spiritual Jerusalem”), which was coming. He explained how those “under the law” were depicted as “the children of the flesh (the unbelieving Jews)” and were “in slavery” under the yoke of the law. It should be noted at this point, that those unbelieving Jews were thegreat persecutor” of Yahweh’s people and murderers of God‘s prophets [See Mt. 23:29-38; 23:13; 24:6; Acts 7:57-59; 13:50; 1 Thes. 2:14-16; Rev. 18:20,24].

Let’s continue with Paul’s allegory, picking up at v-28:

“And you, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time, he who was born according to the flesh, persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit; so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.”

Beloved, did you notice the phrase “so it is now also”? The “now” refers to the time when Paul penned the letter! I believe that you and I must remember that Paul wrote that allegory, not to you and me, but rather to those Christians of his generation, and especially those Hebrew Christians of whom some were abandoning Christ and the gospel for re-entry into bondage under the old covenant world of the Mosaic system of the law. The beautiful and happy moment of this allegory, however, was the fulfillment of the prophetic utterance that those “children of the flesh” (unbelieving Jews) would be cast out, leaving only the “children of the promise” (spiritual children). I must say, that in light of an allegory such as that one, it deeply saddens me to see so much emphasis being placed on the “physical” city of Jerusalem by many of my brethren, when we can clearly see from Paul’s allegory that it was that very city (physical Jerusalem) that was going to be removed and replaced with the Jerusalem from above, the “new Jerusalem” that John saw coming down out of heaven from God [Rev. 21:2]. O my beloved brethren, please consider this: If that “new Jerusalem” has not yet come down from heaven from God, then according to what Paul said in that allegory [vs-25,26], then not one 1st century Hebrew disciple was ever set free from the bondage and slavery of every jot and tittle of the law of Moses!

In closing, I want to make one last point regarding the new heavens and earth. There are two Greek words for the word “new” in the “new covenant Scriptures.”

(1) “neos”- means: “the sense of never having been before.”

(2) “kainos”- means: “new in form, nature and quality.”

In the passages where “new” is used with reference to the “new heavens and earth,” the word “kainos” is the Greek word used and translated “new.”

Yes, that “new heavens and earth,“ was certainly “new” in quality, because the covenant on which it was built, was “new” in quality - it is better because it was established on better promises [Heb. 8:6; 2 Cor. 3:8-11]. Yes, beloved, the things of that old “heavens and earth” were only types and shadows of which Christ was the substance and body [Heb. 10:1-4; Col. 1:19; 2:16, 17].

Folks, I would like to close with another prophecy about the time element that was mentioned by Isaiah. In Is.11:10-12, he said,

“Then it will come about in that day, that the nations (gentiles) will resort to the root of Jesse (Jesus Christ), who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand, the remnant of His people, who will remain; from Assyria, Egypt, Pathron, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel (house of Israel), and will gather the dispersed of Judah (house of Judah) from the four corners of the earth.”

Yes, beloved, as the Lord had gathered His people the first time from bondage in Egypt, He would also gather them a second time; this time, the remnant from both the house of Israel and the house of Judah at His coming at the end of the age [Mt. 24:31; Mt. 13:36-43; Gen. 49:10].

Yes, that is the great “heavens and earth” that consisted of every single person on this planet who found rest in messiah Jesus. And, every person who belonged to Him has come to “Mt. Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and ekklesia of the first-born” [Heb. 12:22, 23], and “the glorious Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ” [v-28]. May the Lord richly bless you with His marvelous grace and peace. 

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Date: 29 May 2006
Time: 23:20:32

Comments:

Also Hebrews 11 states that those of faith looked for that heavenly city (the new Jerusalem) for while Abraham and his seed dewelt in the promised land (physical Israel/Cannan) they were strangers and pilgrams looking for the heavenly country ( the kingdom that the seed of Abraham - Christ would bring into existence....Therfore is is easily understood that they did not look for a physical earthly kingdom, but a heavenly/spiritual kingdom...
I am a son of God - a joint-heir with Jesus living in the spiritual kingdom and upon death will proceed to heaven.


Date: 22 Aug 2006
Time: 16:22:15

Comments:

This is so very different to me. I agree in the spiritual sence but certainly find it impossible to agree in the physical sence. We die, evil and injustice continues, decay and rust are everywhere, sin is rampant and hearts are hardened and indifferent. Times are hard in spirit though we proper with washing machines and computers and big houses. Killing, war, confusion, illness, sadness, a great need of endurance over many perspectives abounding which conflict. Spiritually, I beleive! This earth and ots ways, no way - impossible!

Bruce


Date: 14 Dec 2006
Time: 14:51:18

Comments:

I will do some more thinking on the issue, but I believe you misunderstand Matthew 5:17-18. I have a study guide I have been working on for the book of Ephesians. This is taken from ch 2;

2:13-16) Now to another point: does Matthew 5:17-19 contradict Ephesians 2:13-16)? The way to answer this is to examine what has really been said in each verse and then compare the two. First notice what Jesus says is not his purpose then notice what he says is his purpose. Jesus says in v.17 that he did not come to [or purpose to] do what? Abolish the law or the prophets. Abolish is 2647, which is not the word used here by Paul although the meanings are the almost the same.
What did he purpose to do in the same verse? – to fulfill them.
Does he say the law was never to be abolished or that a condition had to be met first? He says it would have to be fulfilled or accomplished.
Isn’t that was Jesus said was his purpose?
So the obvious conclusion to draw from that is that he either fulfilled it and all that was written in the law and prophets was accomplished or Jesus didn’t fulfill his purpose, which means you ultimately are saying that you believe he failed.
How would one fulfill the law and prophets?
Did Jesus do this according to Luke 24:36-48? Note that the ultimate fulfillment of this came after he ascended back to heaven and the teaching began “in his name” which meant that he was still the one doing it Galatians 2:20.
What would happen to the Law once it had served it’s purpose and been fulfilled? Let me illustrate. Should I have an appointment with the dentist, and announce to the receptionist, "I have come, not to destroy my appointment, but to fulfill it," I would complete all that the appointment called for. I would have fulfilled the appointment and not destroyed it. But, let me ask, would the appointment still be in force? No, it was fulfilled. So it was with Christ. When he fulfilled the law we were delivered from it. It has been fulfilled! Luke 24:44-49 Jesus claims to have met the requirements he laid out in order for the Law to change.
Matthew 5:19 mentions one breaking the least of these commandments and being called the least in the kingdom. Breaking here is “3089. luo loo'-o a primary verb; to "loosen" (literally or figuratively):--break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-)loose, melt, put off. Compare 4486”. When Jesus said this was when the Law had not yet been fulfilled and therefore nothing could pass from the law at that point.

#2-Now on to Ephesians 2:13-16 What is said to have been Jesus’ purpose? To make one new man out of all races and reconcile us to God. This happens when we’re baptized into Christ and no longer under law Romans 6:3-11 the reason is because Jesus blood washes away our sins Acts 22:16 and we through him fulfill the law because at that point we’re made perfect law keepers in God’s eyes and every one who does this is made this one new man [Christ], which is why all this talk of abolishment and peace being made is mentioned following v.13 which mentions his blood which brings us near. So the purpose stated in Matthew is the same purpose stated in Ephesians and there is no contradiction the only difference is Paul goes into how it happens in our lives where as Jesus states what he was to do in order for it to be possible in our lives.
So far we have seen that it wasn’t his purpose to abolish the law and that it was his purpose to create one new man [one in Christ –Galatians 3:26-29 which is being born again or made a new creation] and reconcile us to God, so do you believe these contradict one another when one says he didn’t come to do something and the other says he did come to do this other thing?
Abolished [annulled-Green’s literal translation] in his flesh ... Who is the Law abolished [or annulled] for comparing Ephesians 5:30? The church is said to be his flesh and his bone. The word used here means to make of none effect. The power of the law is gone and Jesus has given us victory 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. Sin only has power over us if we are having to earn salvation.

v The thought here is similar to that in Heb. 10:20, where the new and living way is said to have been opened up through the veil, that is to say, his flesh Regarding the "middle wall of partition..." This probably is a symbolical reference to the partition in the temple, which set apart the court of the Gentiles. Its destruction was typified in the rending of the veil of the temple at the time of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:51).
Abolished the enmity...
What enmity id being addressed here? I believe this has 2 parts – enmity between us and God and enmity between Jew and Gentile [all races]. Leviticus 20:22-23-24, 26 and esp. Deut. 26:18-19.


In Acts 11:1-18, what were the Jews addressing and how does their conclusion support Paul’s statement here about Christ abolishing the enmity in his flesh? Once they understood through clear evidence that Jesus accepted them there was no more need to be at odds and there was much need to embrace one another as fellow recipients of grace.
In Galatians 2:18 Paul says that he tore down the law and the word for tore is the Greek word katargeo {kat-arg-eh'-o} defined by Vines as “to cast down by force”. And by “E.W. Bullinger as “to loosen down, to dissolve, i.e. to disunite the parts of anything, spoken of buildings to throw down, put an end to.” And is defined by Strong’s as “2673. katargeo kat-arg-eh'-o from 2596 and 691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively:--abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to naught, put away (down), vanish away, make void.” This is the same word translated abolish or destroy in Matthew 5:17, which Jesus says he did not come to do. The question is how do we [like Paul] personally put an end to the law in our lives according to the context in Galatians 2:15-20? When we are crucified with Christ
How is one crucified with Christ according to Romans 6:3-6?
Is the law abolished for everyone or just those who have been crucified with Christ according to Romans 6:3-11?
Jesus said before the Law could be removed it had to be fulfilled and he did that in his life, but does that mean there is no Law for anyone now or is that only for those who have been baptized into Christ according to Romans 8:1-4? He fulfills it in our lives when our old self dies and we put on Christ and remember it has to be fulfilled before it can be removed which is why if I’m in Christ I cannot be condemned. Of course being in Christ is always a choice and I can choose to continue in sin and still be condemned.
Colossians 2:9-17- Paul states that it was nailed to the cross. Looking closely at the context, who is the debt canceled for and who is it nailed to the cross for? He says that he forgave us “by” [key word] canceling out our debt and nailing the law to the cross. So when we’re forgiven we have the law abolished (tore down, Galatians 2:18) in our lives which happens once when we’re baptized into Christ Acts 2:38 and Ephesians 1:7. So the obvious conclusion is that everyone who has not been baptized into Christ is still under the old law or you would have to say that the whole world has been forgiven apart from obeying the gospel.
So is this accurate that the world is still under the old law until they are baptized into Christ according to Romans 3:19-20? Notice the distinction he makes between himself (baptized believer and the world.
What did it state was the purpose of the Law of Moses?
Let’s define a “byproduct” = A parent is offered a dream job in another state. She purposes to relocate and take the job. The byproduct is that her child now has to change schools out of necessity because the child cannot remain at that school and the parent be able to carry out her purpose of taking the job.
With a definite understanding of what a byproduct is let’s examine Matthew 5:17-18 again. He says that he didn’t purpose to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill and yet over in Hebrews 7:11-18 Says the law has changed as a byproduct of the priesthood changing. So how do we harmonize these 2 verses? By asking who is Jesus high priest of which we can have answered for us in Hebrews 3:1 & 4:14 & 10:19-21 which says he is the high priest of those who share in the heavenly calling and that is not people outside of the church or house of God [household]. So the law has not changed for the world, but rather only for the church which is the same thing taught in the other verses that we’ve been looking at. Also call to mind what a priests duty was, intercession between God and his chosen people. Well who are his chosen people now according to 1 Peter 2:9 [keeping in mind who he’s addressing as stated in 1:3]? His chosen people are his possession who are they according to Acts 20:28? How doe
Can we conclude from what has been said so far that if we reject the law change it is the same as saying we reject Jesus as high priest?
According to Hebrews 9:11-18 what had to happen before the covenant could change [keeping in mind covenant and the law are synonymous]?
Now does this verse harmonize with all the others we have mentioned? Yes he fulfilled all prophecies about him and kept the law perfectly then died for us and ascended and the gospel was preached beginning in Jerusalem [all was accomplished] and then the old law [covenant] could be done away with and this new covenant could then be entered into by anyone who would meet the conditions Jesus set forth in it. Which is plainly seen to have taken place in the great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 & Mark 16:15-16
Was the first covenant ever broken by anyone? Jeremiah 31:31-34
Did God have all rights to establish a new covenant since they broke the first one?
If some were to say that the gentiles were not condemned by the law of Moses because the oracles were not given to them then they would have a hard time understanding how it is they were said to be redeemed from a law they were never under in Galatians 3:13-14 & 4:4-6 Also Ephesians 1:7 [“we” includes gentiles]. In 4:4-6 it says they were redeemed and made sons of God. Now if they were not redeemed from the Law then why are they called sons in Galatians 3:13-29? Did you notice that told us how we’re redeemed from the Law in baptism? Notice all the “us and we” statements? They include the gentiles he writing to.
Another proof that only Christians are under the new covenant [being the only ones under Jesus as high priest] and that the world is still under the Law of Moses is seen in that in the great commission as recorded in Matthew and Mark. Who were the Apostles to teach to obey all of Jesus commandments (new covenant)? Those who become disciples by being saved. This is because only Christians are under the new law.
Some will argue against this based on John 12:48 which says we will be saved by Jesus’ words and they say that wipes out the idea of us being judged by the Law of Moses. This objection is easily answered with a question that when answered explains it all. When Paul wrote Romans 3:19-20 [which makes a distinction between those under Law and himself and those he’s talking to] was that Jesus’ words or his? If he was inspired by the Holy Spirit then he had to be speaking Jesus words look at 2 Corinthians 3:17. It is still Jesus words judging us because he authorized Paul to write that the world is under the Law of Moses and he authorized him to make the distinction between himself [a Christian] and the unbelieving world.
A verse some may use to contend that the old Law is done away with for the world also is Matthew 28:18. They simply ask , how much authority does that leave Moses or David etc.? this objection is again easily answered- none! Unless Jesus gives it to him. Which according to Paul he does in Romans 3:19-20. Matthew 28:18 is a good verse to show that the old testament has no authority over the church which is true because Christ is the head which is the point this study is stressing, but he is not head of the world. He leaves them under Moses authority.
According to Romans 8:1-2 when is the Law done away? “in Christ”
In Hebrews 8:7-13 the first covenant is said to be obsolete or not needed any more. It says it is ready to vanish away, which implies that at least for some it’s still what they’re under for justification, but that it is ready to vanish away. When does it vanish away drawing your answer from the context and Romans 11:27? When we enter the new covenant in having our sins removed we make the first covenant vanish away. The whole world is under the old Law till they personally make the old covenant vanish away in their lives.
Some claim that he only abolished the ceremonial Law, but does this verse give two aspects of the Law he abolished and if so, what are they? 1. Commandments- refers to the moral Law 2. Ordinances- refers to the ceremonial Law. Both are gone being a part of a covenant that was never made with the church of Christ.
Others may go to Colossians 2:14 and say that is also only talking about the ceremonial Law. The verse says this Law had to be removed in order for us to be able to get forgiveness (context starts in 9 and ends in 17). What this stance says is that the moral Law (10 commandments) are not what condemns us, but rather it is the ceremonial that condemns us and had to be removed. Which Law does Paul say condemned him in Romans 7:4-7? Shall not covet is part of the 10 not the ceremonial. Our moral imperfections is what taught us we need Christ Galatians 3:24-25.


Date: 16 Dec 2006
Time: 01:47:17

Comments:

One of your points on the early date was that the temple is mentioned. Since this book claims to be symbolic in verse 1 of ch 1, should we take this to be the physical temple or the temple of the new testament? All christians then would have first thought about the church given that it is called the temple over and over again i.e. Eph 2:19-22; I Corinthians 3:16-17 etc. I beleive we begin to violate the way the book presents itself when we make this a literal temple. Your veiw is no different than the Jehovah's witness who says the 144,000 is literal and not symbolic. Also you should examine each time measuring is done in the scriptures because it can apply to protection from God. Measuring just implies boundaries to what will be protected or destroyed.
Also your veiw on the Lord's day should be thought out some more. Think about this; He was in the Spirit on that day when he seen the vision, which if taken the way you presented it means that he would have seen it happening as it actually was happening-am I making myself clear? The point is, if it was that day then it could not be a vision of that day. The Lord's day is the day he conquerred death so that we don't have to die in our sins (I Cor. 15:17). It's the same day the church was established. The same day he appeared to the saints after his resurrection-2 weeks in a row if I'm not mistaken. He did not say I seen a vision of the Lord's day, but rather that the vision came to him while he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day-you see he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day before the vision even began. How would your position explain this fact?

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