Q. I’m enjoying reading your site, especially your comments on what I consider tough passages. My question is about “the day of the Lord/day of God” mentioned in 2 Peter 3:10&12. I always associated the destruction by fire of the heavens and earth in these verses with the new heaven and earth in Revelation 21:1. But the reference to these events coming as a thief in the night would seem to be about the Second Coming. I know that there will be major geographical renovations when He comes, but if that is the time-frame for the fervent heat Peter mentions, that would mean that the heavens and earth will be recreated twice, both before and after the millennium. What are your thoughts on this?
A. From an Earthly perspective there’s some confusion in these verses that I’ve never seen anyone explain logically, although there are many opinions. Isaiah 65:17 mentions the creation of a new Heaven and New Earth in the context of the Millennial Kingdom. John used the same phrase in Rev. 21:1 when he described the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, saying that the first Earth had passed away and that God was making everything new (Rev. 21:5). This is also in connection with the Millennium and neither reference mentions the Earth and Heaven going up in flames.
Jesus called this time the renewal of all things in Matt.19:28 so I believe Isaiah and John were talking about the restoration of Heaven and Earth at the outset of the Millennium to the condition they were in before all the judgments they’ve sustained since Satan’s rebellion. I think the final judgments of the Great Tribulation are actually the beginning of this process.
Therefore I think Peter was making a very general overview statement of the End Times in 2 Peter 3:10-12. Since there’s no mention in Scripture of Heaven and Earth disappearing in a burst of flame in connection with the 2nd Coming, it appears that Peter’s statement encompasses both the 2nd Coming and the eventual destruction of the current Heaven and Earth, perhaps at the end of the Millennium when the Creation enters eternity.